Arizona (Rate Wire) -- The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate in AZ has moved down over the last year. In our year-ago review on Jan. 28 the rates averaged 4.95%; this week the average stands at 4.16%, a drop of 79 basis points. The state average is higher than the national average of 4.12%, which is 4 basis points lower than in AZ. 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 8 basis points lower than the average bank. Since our last report, rates have not changed. The shorter term 15-year fixed mortgage in AZ rates have dropped from 4.3% to 3.48%, a drop of 82 basis points.

The key adjustable rate mortgage, the 5-year ARM in Arizona, has decreased over the last year from 3.8% on Jan. 28 to the current week's average of 3.05%, a drop of 75 basis points. Since our last report, rates have not changed. Over the last year, mortgage rates have been very volatile with the 30-year rate fluctuating between 5.23% and 3.99%.

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 45 basis points on average. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate with one point is 4.50%. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage if you pay two points is 4.37%.

Other Housing Related Loans:

The average rate for home improvement loans across the state is 7.40%. 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 Arizona is 6.86% ranging from 3.25% to 10.00%. 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 Arizona is currently 8.65% ranging from a low of 4.74% to a high of 10.94%.

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.