Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey – March 17, 2011

Primary Mortgage Market Survey Press Release

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Drops Amid Japan Crisis

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2011
or (703) 903-3933

McLean, VA – Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), which shows the 30-year fixed-rate dropping to 4.76 percent while the 15-year fixed-rate hit its lowest rate at 3.97 percent since December 2010.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.76 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending March 17, 2011, down from last week when it averaged 4.88 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.96 percent.

  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.97 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.15 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.33 percent.

  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.57 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.73 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.09 percent.

  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.21 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.12 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

  • "With the crisis in Japan, investors rushed to buy the security of U.S. Treasury bonds, which lowered its yields and other interest rates as well. This allowed fixed mortgage rates to drift lower this week.
  • "In aggregate, families have been strengthening their balance sheets. In the fourth quarter of 2010, household net worth rose by $2.1 trillion, boosted by gains in the stock market. This helped lower their financial obligation ratio (debt payments relative to disposable income) to the lowest level since the first quarter of 1995."

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.

Summary of Survey Results

Fixed-Rate Mortgages
 Average Conventional
30-Year Commitment Rate
Fees & PointsAverage Conventional
15-Year Commitment Rate
Fees & Points
N. Central4.770.63.950.6

Five/One-Year Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
 First Commitment RateFees & PointsMargin
N. Central3.580.42.71

One-Year Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
 First Commitment RateFees & PointsMargin
N. Central3.350.32.72

Freddie Mac defines its regions as follows:

Northeast: NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT
Southeast: NC, SC, TN, KY, GA, AL, FL, MS, PR, VI
North Central: OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, MN, IA, ND, SD
Southwest: TX, LA, NM, OK, AR, MO, KS, CO, NE, WY
West: CA, AZ, NV, OR, WA, UT, ID, MT, HI, AK, GU

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) is for informational purposes only and Freddie Mac is not responsible for business decisions made based on the reported results of the PMMS. In general, the data presented were calculated from information collected Monday through Wednesday of the same week that the PMMS is released and may not reflect mortgage rates, fees or points currently available from any lender. Freddie Mac may change the methodology used to conduct the PMMS at any time and without notice.


Commitment Rate is the interest rate a lender would charge to lend mortgage money to a qualified borrower exclusive of the fees and points required by the lender. This commitment rate applies only to conventional financing on conforming mortgages with loan-to-value rates of 80 percent or less.

ARM Index is the one-year Treasury

Loan to Value Ratio (LTV) is the ratio of the loan amount of a mortgage loan to the lower of the appraisal value or purchase price of the property securing the loan.

Origination Fees and Discount Points are the total charged by the lender at settlement. One point equals one percent of the loan amount.

Margin is a fixed amount added to the underlying index to establish the fully indexed rate for an ARM.

Weighted Averages for the Primary Mortgage Market Survey have been adjusted as of October 28, 2010. The new weights use the dollar volume of conventional first-lien mortgage originations within the 1-unit Freddie Mac loan limit as reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) for 2008. The weights are listed in the table below.

Freddie Mac Region PMMS Weights
North Central

Primary Mortgage Market Survey Results
March 17, 2011

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages
Fees & Points0.

15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgages
Fees & Points0.

5/1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Fees & Points0.

1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgages
Fees & Points0.

The National Mortgage Rate Snapshot
 One Year AgoOne Week Ago
 30-YR15-YR5/1-YR1-YR ARM30-YR15-YR5/1-YR1-YR ARM
Average4.96  4.33  4.09  4.12  4.88  4.15  3.73  3.21  
Fees & Points0.7  0.6  0.6  0.6  0.7  0.7  0.6  0.5  
MarginN/AN/A2.74  2.75  N/AN/A2.74  2.76  

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