RISMEDIA, January 14, 2011—Mortgage rates were mostly lower this week, except for the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate, which held at 4.94 percent according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.38 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage retreated to 4.29 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate settled at 5.57 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were down more notably, with the average 5-year ARM sinking to 3.88 percent and the 7-year ARM plunging to 4.24 percent.

Both fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have been range-bound since mid-December, following a sharp run-up in the month prior to that. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has been particularly docile, with the average rate fluctuating less than one-tenth of a percentage point over the past month. A heavy dose of economic data and ongoing debt issuance by the U.S. Treasury have the potential to introduce some volatility to mortgage rates over the next week. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds, which rise along with the fortunes of the economy.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At that time, the average rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.94 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,066.32, a savings of $175 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.