The average for a 30-year jumbo loan has just fallen below 6 percent, according to research firm HSH’s Market Trends newsletter, to 5.96 percent. That is the lowest interest rate since September 2005. Meanwhile, the average conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with no points averaged 5.9 percent last Wednesday, one of its lowest this year, while the overall average, which includes conforming, jumbo and agency jumbo for 30-year fixed rates, lost 0.06 percent, pulling HSH’s Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (FRMI) to 5.35 percent, and the FRMI 5/1 Hybrid ARM dropped 0.07 percent to 4.67.

Whether that’s good news or a time to be wary remains to be seen: more high-end homeowners are undergoing foreclosures, according to the Wall Street Journal: 30 percent of foreclosures in June were on homes in top third tier of housing values, from 16 percent three years ago, while the bottom one-third is now only 35 percent of foreclosures, down from 55 percent in the same time period.

HSH seems to believe that things are improving in the private non-conforming mortgages, noting that “jumbos have sported a lower average rate in just 49 of the 509 weeks which have elapsed since Y2K — and that the “bottom of the bottom” noted during that period was only about 40 basis points (.40%) below this week’s figure.”

BusinessWeek points out that appraisers are following more stringent standards, making it more difficult to get qualified large loans. Meanwhile, they cite data from the Mortgage Bankers Association that home purchase prices are up 13 percent, and 18 percent for refinances. It’s a mixed bag, but maybe lightening up with better news soon.


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