Massachusetts (Rate Wire) -- The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate in MA has moved down over the last year. In our year-ago review on Feb. 4 the rates averaged 5.07%; this week the average stands at 4.21%, a drop of 86 basis points. The state average is higher than the national average of 4.12%, which is 9 basis points lower than in MA. If you are looking for the best rate in the area, then you might want to look into credit unions, where the average rate is 6 basis points lower than the average bank. Since our last report, rates have increased 1 basis point. The shorter term 15-year fixed mortgage in MA rates have dropped from 4.26% to 3.41%, a drop of 85 basis points.

The key adjustable rate mortgage, the

5-year ARM in Massachusetts

, has decreased over the last year from 3.69% on Feb. 4 to the current week's average of 3.03%, a drop of 66 basis points. Since our last report, rates have increased 0 basis points. Over the last year, mortgage rates have been very volatile with the 30-year rate fluctuating between 5.17% and 4.15%.

Other Housing Related Loans:

The average rate for home improvement loans across the state is 9.16%. Currently rates range from a low of 8.99% up to 9.50%. There are a lot of variables to consider when looking into home equity loans and lines of credit. The bank will look at the amount of equity that the prospective borrower has in his or her home as well as the total amount of the loan or line being considered. When looking into lines of credit, also referred to as a HELOC, we refer to the lowest tier of loan (less than $25,000) with a loan amount of up to 80% of the value of the home. The current average rate for a

HELOC in Massachusetts

is 4.49% ranging from 2.75% to 6.24%. When looking into home equity loans, we are using the lowest tier of loan (less than $25,000) with a loan amount of up to 80% of the value of the home over a five-year term (120 months). The average

home equity loan rate in Massachusetts

is currently 6.31% ranging from a low of 3.25% to a high of 10.04%.

All rate information has been provided by RateWatch, a leading provider of timely, accurate deposit, loan, and fee data for the financial industry for more than 20 years.