for Mortgage Consumers

Mortgage Rates and Mortgage Spotlights

we are not a lender, mortgage lead generator or broker.  Typical rates and other mortgage market information are provided for general information only, obtained by sampling only a few wholesale lenders' rate sheets or guidelines.  Rates given below are typical wholesale list rates, near-par (no discount points) for 30-day locks with no price adjustments, which rates are most typical for an 80% LTV loan, processed with full income and asset documentation, for a borrower with a qualifying credit and employment history, a credit score of 720 or higher, no subordinate financing, and escrowing taxes and insurance.  When lenders determine rates they apply a variety of pricing adjustments to reflect specific characteristics of the borrower, property, and overall financing structure.  Rates can vary widely among lenders and for properties in different locations.  The "price' of a rate is usually established early in the morning, but can often change once or twice within a day.  Please contact your lender for actual rate quotes.  An excellent source of competitive rate quotes for actual loan scenarios is the relatively new Zillow mortgage quote request feature at   You obtain quotes from many lenders for your detailed situation without divulging your identity or contact information, and with no cost, obligation or credit report being pulled (you list your credit rating and/or qualifying middle credit score). 

Agency* Loans:  Typical Current Par Wholesale Mortgage Rates 2/20/09

Agency 30-year fixed  5.000%
Agency 30-year fixed IO** 6.875% 
Agency 40-year fixed**** 7.500% 
Agency 20-year fixed 5.000% 
Agency 15-year fixed 4.625% 
Agency 10-year fixed 4.625% 
Agency 3-year ARM*** 5.250% 
Agency 5-year ARM*** 4.875% 
Agency 7-year ARM***  5.000% 
Agency 10-year ARM***  5.125% 

*Agency" loan refers to any conventional loan that qualifies to be purchased from a lender by one of the Government Sponsored Agencies (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) (i.e. the loan conforms to their underwriting guidelines).
**has a 10-year interest-only initial payment period; rate is estimated since pricing is no longer readily available
****rate is estimated since pricing is no longer readily available
***Typical Agency ARMs have a 2.25% margin, use the 1-year LIBOR index, have adjustment caps of 5% initial and lifetime adjustment (except 1-year ARM 2% initial limit), 2% periodic adjustment limit, and adjust once per year on the anniversary of the origination date after the fixed rate period is over.  ARMs are also available with an initial 10-year interest only payment period, but rates may be higher by about 0.125%.
FHA Loans:  Typical Current Par Wholesale Mortgage Rates 2/20/09
(VA rates are very similar)

30-year fixed 5.125% 
15-year fixed 5.000% 
1-year ARM* 6.000% 
3-year ARM* 4.625% 
5-year ARM* 5.000% 

*All FHA ARMs have 1% limits for initial and periodic adjustments, and a 5% limit on lifetime adjustments.  They adjust once per year and use one month average of weekly rates on 1-year U.S. Treasury Bills for their index rate.  Margins can vary at origination from 2% to 2.5%.

Featured Portfolio Loans

There used to be many lenders who offered proprietary loans that are held in their asset portfolio (i.e. not sold to Agencies or other lenders).  Such loans often have unique features or significantly different underwriting guidelines than Agency or government loans (either easier or tougher).  The universe of such loans has shrunk dramatically since late 2006, espeically for "jumbo" loans in excess of the Agency conforming loan limits ($417,000 for a one unit property). 

2/20/09:  At this time we cannot find any such loans worth featuring! 
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)    
Fully-Indexed Rates (FIR) As of 2/20/09
(Fully Indexed Rate = Index Value + Your Margin)  
(Index is Prime Rate for Almost All HELOCs)  
Wall Street Journal Prime Rate= 3.250%  
If Your Margin Is Your Current FIR Is Monthly Payment on $100,000 Versus Amortization Type
    Interest Only 20-year 15-year 10-year
-1.000% 2.250% $187.50 $376.21 $514.70 $792.01
-0.875% 2.375% $197.92 $381.12 $519.69 $797.10
-0.750% 2.500% $208.33 $386.07 $524.72 $802.21
-0.625% 2.625% $218.75 $391.06 $529.78 $807.35
-0.500% 2.750% $229.17 $396.09 $534.87 $812.50
-0.375% 2.875% $239.58 $401.17 $539.99 $817.68
-0.250% 3.000% $250.00 $406.29 $545.15 $822.87
-0.125% 3.125% $260.42 $411.46 $550.33 $828.09
0.000% 3.250% $270.83 $416.67 $555.56 $833.33
0.125% 3.375% $281.25 $421.92 $560.81 $838.60
0.250% 3.500% $291.67 $427.21 $566.10 $843.88
0.375% 3.625% $302.08 $432.55 $571.41 $849.19
0.500% 3.750% $312.50 $437.93 $576.76 $854.51
0.625% 3.875% $322.92 $443.36 $582.15 $859.86
0.750% 4.000% $333.33 $448.83 $587.56 $865.23
0.875% 4.125% $343.75 $454.34 $593.01 $870.63
1.000% 4.250% $354.17 $459.89 $598.49 $876.04
1.125% 4.375% $364.58 $465.49 $604.01 $881.48
1.250% 4.500% $375.00 $471.13 $609.55 $886.93
1.500% 4.750% $395.83 $482.55 $620.74 $897.91
1.750% 5.000% $416.67 $494.13 $632.06 $908.98
1.875% 5.125% $427.08 $499.98 $637.77 $914.55
2.000% 5.250% $437.50 $505.88 $643.51 $920.13
2.250% 5.500% $458.33 $517.81 $655.08 $931.37
2.500% 5.750% $479.17 $529.90 $666.79 $942.70
2.750% 6.000% $500.00 $542.17 $678.62 $954.11
3.000% 6.250% $520.83 $554.60 $690.58 $965.61

Note:  **Rate may be subject to a minimum floor rate; consult your loan documents.  Currently HELOCs are not readily available for more than 80% total-loan-to-value ("TLTV": total of other mortgages plus credit line amount.  Terms vary considerably regarding initial draw period (usually 5-15 years, and subsequent payoff term (10-20 years).  During the draw period interest-only minimum payments are allowed and additional draws may be taken up to the credit limit.  Many have a 10-year draw period with a 20-year payoff period.  Due to the credit crisis many lenders have frozen undrawn portions of HELOC credit lines.

About Rates on Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage the value of the index at the time your rate adjusts determines your adjusted rate:

Adjusted Rate% = Index Rate% (at time of adjustment) + Your Margin%


For example, suppose you have a 5-year ARM with a margin of 2.25% (the most common for prime ARMs) and the adjustment index is the 1-year LIBOR (the most common index for prime ARMs).  Suppose at the time the loan adjusts the 1-year LIBOR rate is 5.25% (typical rate in 2006), your adjusted rate would be 7.5% (=5.25% + 2.25%).  On the other hand, if your rate adjusted on November 1, 2008, your adjusted rate would likely about 6.25%, since the index was about 4.00% in October which is the value that was likely used to determine your rate.  If your loan adjusted on January 1, 2009 you'd be luckier, since the index was 2.0% at the end of December, 2008, so your adjusted rate would be 4.25% for the next 12 months.  Since each loan has its own specific terms regarding the index value used to adjust the rate, consult your note language or your loan servicer.  The example demonstrates the importance of paying attention to the margin when you finance using an ARM (the lower the better).


Lenders also refer to the "fully-indexed rate," which is the value of a margin plus the index at any moment in time:

Fully-Indexed Rate% = Index Rate% (at any time) + Your Margin%


In years past you could expect the market rate for a newly issued ARM to be close to the fully-indexed rate, with allowance for whether the fixed rate period was 1-year, 2-years, 3-years, 5-years, 7-years or 10-years.  That hasn't been the case very often since Fall, 2007.  Due to the financial crisis there have been several periods when the rate for a new ARM has been very much higher than the fully-indexed rate.  In fact, during November, 2008 ARM rates were extremely high compared to U.S. Treasury rates that were near historically low levels.  Furthermore, there has been much greater variation in rates for the same loan between two different lenders than any time in the past, so rate shopping is very important right now.  At the present time, it probably isn't a good idea to refinance an ARM into another ARM, since the fully-indexed rate is likely to be significantly lower than the fixed rate on a new ARM.  Interestingly, as of January 2, 2009, the typical wholesale par rate (before pricing adjustments for your particular parameters) for a 30-year fixed rate conventional loan is about 5.00%, about the same as the best rate available for a 5-year ARM, but about 0.75% higher than the fully indexed rate on a typical prime ARM having a margin of 2.25% and using the 1-year LIBOR index.


If you have an ARM that will adjust soon, you might periodically check the fully-indexed rate and the trend in your index rate to get an idea of what might happen to your rate at the time of your next adjustment.  To aid in that, you could check your index rate on any number of websites.  One of our favorite places to look is the ARM index page at the Mortgage-X website at  It has very complete information about all the indexes used for all ARMs. -END-

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