Mortgage rates among the nation’s largest bank mortgage lenders dropped this past week to their lowest point since the beginning of the year.  Mortgage costs have be on a slow and steady rise since the fourth quarter of 2012 with this past week showing the first significant rate drop in 2013.  Based on the most recent bank mortgage rate survey of the top bank mortgage lenders conducted by SelectCDrates.com, all mortgage loan products closed with lower rates including the popular 30 year fixed rate loan on up to the jumbo home loans.

Mortgage rates reacted to a mix of international news and domestic news.  Internationally, weakness in Europe and Japan has resurfaced with particular trouble brewing in Italy over the sate of their austerity commitment.  The most recent release on fourth quarter GDP in the euro zone fell short of expectations.  And unlike the brouhaha over the debt trouble in Greece that took center stage last year, Italy has a much larger economy and far more public debt outstanding that needs to go through the refinancing mechanics. 

Domestically, U.S. retail sales are causing some trouble with smaller than expected gains in monthly retail sales and more consternation possibly on the way as the sequester budget cuts have not been felt yet nor, is it believed, that the increase in payroll taxes that started at the onset of the years have been fully accounted for in household budgets.  Lower than expected retail sales may continue to materialize in the coming months.

All in all, economic growth continues on a precarious path which tends to persuade investors to keep their funds in the safety and security of fixed income bonds and mortgage backed securities.  Of course, the Fed is still fueling the market with approximately 85 billion dollars in mortgage bond and Treasury bond purchases to help keep bank rates depressed. 

Week over week, the average 30 year mortgage rate slid down by 12 basis points or 0.12 percent.  The average 30 year fixed rate loan ended the week at 3.568 percent after closing at 3.688 percent in the previous week.

The 30 year jumbo mortgage rate dropped by 9.6 basis points to 3.789 percent from 3.885 percent in the week earlier.  FHA rates were down by an amount similar to the jumbos, slipping 9.7 basis points to 3.428 percent from 3.525 percent in the prior week.

Ten year mortgage rates, 15 year mortgage rates and 20 year mortgage rates were lower with a rather consistent progression.  The ten year mortgage was down by 5.8 basis points this past week, the 15 year mortgage rate came in 7.5 basis points lower and the 20 year term home loan was reduced by 8.5 basis points.  The average rate for the intermediate term loans ended the week at 2.745 percent for the ten year, 2.792 percent for the 15 year mortgage and 3.505 percent on the 20 year home loan.

To review the latest mortgage rates and loan costs from the top bank mortgage lenders in this week’s bank mortgage rate survey dated March 1, 2013 see the following mortgage rate tables: 30 year mortgage rates, 15 year mortgage rates, 20 year mortgage rates, 10 year mortgage rates, FHA mortgage rates and jumbo mortgage rates.

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