Pennsylvania (Rate Wire) -- The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate in PA has moved down since the beginning of the year. In our first reading for the year on Jan. 7 the rates averaged 4.97%; this week the average stands at 4.32%, a drop of 65 basis points. The state average is higher than the national average of 4.19%, which is 13 basis points lower than in PA. 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 15 basis points lower than the average bank. Since our last report, rates have increased 3 basis points. The shorter term 15-year fixed mortgage in PA rates have dropped from 4.43% to 3.67%, a drop of 76 basis points.

The key adjustable rate mortgage, the

5-year ARM in Pennsylvania

, has decreased since the beginning of the year from 4.04% on Jan. 7 to the current week's average of 3.35%, a drop of 69 basis points. Since our last report, rates have increased 10 basis points. Since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates have been very volatile with the 30-year rate fluctuating between 5.25% and 4.32%.

If you would like to lower your rate further:

Paying points can lower your monthly mortgage payment by having you prepay some of the interest on your mortgage. Paying a point at closing will reduce your rate by 27 basis points on average. The average 30-year fixed rate

mortgage rate

with one point is 4.70%. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage if you pay two points is 4.46%.

Other Housing Related Loans:

The average rate for home improvement loans across the state is 9.17%. Be sure to shop around for the best rate as loan rates vary greatly across the state from a low of 4.50% to a high of 12.00%. 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 Pennsylvania

is 4.61% ranging from 2.93% to 8.84%. 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 Pennsylvania

is currently 5.88% ranging from a low of 3.65% to a high of 9.99%.

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.