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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 10/18/2012

Mortgage rates hover near or at historic lows

Mortgage rates continue to hover near or at historic lows, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

Buoyed by positive news this week in the home construction sector, the 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.37 percent, just slightly above its record low two weeks ago of 3.36 percent. Last week, it was 3.39 percent. A year ago at this time, it was 4.11 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average set a new low, hitting 2.66 percent for the first time. It was down from 2.70 a week ago and 3.38 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages rose slightly. The five-year ARM increased to 2.75 percent, up from 2.73 percent a week ago, but down from 3.01 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM averaged 2.60 percent, up from 2.59 percent a week ago but down from 2.94 percent last year.

“Mortgage rates remained more or less unchanged this week as home construction builds up steam,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Construction on single-family homes jumped to an annualized rate of 11 percent in August, the strongest pace since August 2008. Over the first nine months of the year, single-family starts were 23 percent higher than the same period last year. Moreover, home builder confidence rose for the sixth consecutive month in October to the highest level since June 2006, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.”

Banks’ third quarter earnings came out within the past week. Wells Fargo reported that mortgage originations were up significantly, while JPMorgan and Bank of America saw modest increases. Citigroup had a decline.

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

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, fell 4.2 percent from last week. The Refinance Index went down 5 percent, while the Purchase Index dropped 9 percent compared with the previous week.

Although the refinance share of mortgage was down slightly from the previous week, it still accounts for 82 percent of applications.

More in Real Estate

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Signs of a housing recovery?

Refinancing: Wait, or move now?

Fed actions to reduce mortgage rates may help banks

Bankers say yes to second mortgages

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 10/18/2012

 
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