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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/13/2012

Mortgage rates fall to near record-lows

Mortgage rates fell to near record-lows, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.32 percent with an average 0.7 point. It hit its all-time low three weeks ago when it averaged 3.31 percent. The 30-year fixed rate was 3.34 percent a week ago and 3.94 percent a year ago at this time. For the past 12 weeks, it has been below 3.5 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also declined, falling to 2.66 percent with an average 0.6 point. It sank to its all-time low three weeks ago when it averaged 2.63 percent. The 15-year fixed rate, which was 2.67 percent last week and 3.21 percent a year ago, has remained below the five-year adjustable-rate average since it fell to 2.69 percent 10 weeks ago.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM rose to 2.7 percent with a 0.6 point. It was 2.69 percent last week.

The one-year ARM sank to 2.53 percent with 0.5 point, down from 2.55 percent last week.

“Mortgage rates held relatively steady following the November employment report,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Although 146,000 jobs were created, above the market consensus forecast of 85,000, revisions subtracted 49,000 workers over the September and October period. The unemployment rate fell from 7.9 to 7.7 percent. However, in its December 12 monetary policy statement, the Federal Reserve noted that this rate remains elevated and modified the statement to tie any increases to its target rate to the unemployment rate falling below 6.5 percent.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications rose for the second week in a row, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 6.2 percent from last week. The Refinance Index climbed 8 percent, while the Purchase Index went up 1 percent from the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity grew to 84 percent of total applications.

“Refinance activity increased, with the refinance index hitting its highest level in two months, and the refinance share reaching its highest level since January 2009,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Applications for purchase increased for a fifth consecutive week, and are running almost 10 percent above their level at this time last year.”

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 12/13/2012

 
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