Interest rates hold below 5 percent

Mortgage rates have remained steady.Steady jobs gains helped keep interest rates below 5 percent last week, providing strong opportunities for those looking to buy Houston homes.According to Freddie Mac, during the week ending March 10, the average interest rate for a standard 30-year mortgage was 4.88 percent, up only slightly from the week before. A year ago, the average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage was 4.95 percent.In addition, the average rates reported for 15-year FRMs and adjustable-rate loans all either stayed level, or showed just very slight variations.”Mortgage rates held steady amid a strong employment report,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. “The private sector added 222,000 jobs in February, the most since March 2006 while the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, the lowest share since April 2009.”Historically low interest rates have made the current homebuying climate one of the best in history. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, someone with the median income would have been able to buy more than 72 percent of Houston homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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