Are mortgage rates really as low as they look?

BankRate.com reports that the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is down to 5.25%, close to an all-time low.

But as Gilbert & Sullivan wrote, things are seldom what they seem, and this may be a case, at least to some extent, of skim milk masquerading as cream. New fees called Loan Level Price Adjustments require borrowers extra fees if their credit scores fall below 740 -- even though 740 is generally regarded as a very good credit score.

RISMedia reports that "According to Freddie Mac's weekly rate survey, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgage was 5.05% in January 2009, and a payment of an average 0.7 point was required to obtain the rate. A year ago, the average rate was 5.76%, but it took less to get that rate -- an average 0.4 point was required."