Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates continued to hover near record lows this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.55 percent, down from 3.59 percent a week ago and 4.12 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average remained the same as a week ago, at 2.86 percent. It was 3.33 percent a year ago at this time.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages both declined. The five-year ARM sank to 2.75 percent, down from 2.78 percent a week ago and 2.96 a year ago at this time.

The one-year ARM dipped to 2.61 percent, down from 2.63 percent a week ago. Last year at this time it was 2.84 percent.

“Mortgage rates were little changed over the holiday week amid mixed economic data releases,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Although consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in July, representing the largest gain in five months, the core price index was unchanged, suggesting little threat of inflation.”

Nothaft added: “Consumer confidence picked up slightly in August, according to [a report released by the] University of Michigan, but remained below this year’s peak in May. And the manufacturing industry contracted for the third consecutive month in August.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications slid further. The market composite index, a measure of the loan application volume, fell 2.5 percent from the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported.

The refinance index was down 3 percent from last week to its lowest level since May. The purchase index decreased 0.8 percent from a week ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity remained at 79 percent, the same as last week.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.

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