Mortgage rates: There's low, and then there's low

If you're thinking about refinancing, you're not alone. Lenders are seeing more applications for loans, and 80 percent of applicants want a refi, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

That's because mortgage rates are below 5 percent for 30-year fixed products. Freddie Mac, releasing its weekly survey Thursday, said it was 4.78 percent -- the lowest since it started tracking the figure in the spring of 1971.

You know, this is exactly the sort of situation that cries out for a graph.

Here you go:



The higher line is the annual average; the lower one is points. There's no 1971 (only a partial year of data from Freddie Mac) and no annual average to be had for '09 yet, obviously. But you can imagine the line dropping from '08.

I included points because they've ranged a lot over the years -- from more than 2 percent to less than half a percent.

I updated the graph above on 4/6 to show the rate and points separately -- which I should have done from the beginning. Desk, meet head.

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