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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 03/07/2013

Mortgage rates inch higher but remain near historic lows

Mortgage rates inched higher this week but remain near historic lows, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average edged up to 3.52 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was up from 3.51 percent a week ago, but down from 3.88 percent a year ago. Since rising above 3.5 percent in late January, the 30-year fixed rate has hovered just above that mark.

The 15-year fixed-rate average was unchanged at 2.76 percent with an average 0.7 point. A year ago, it was 3.13 percent. The 15-year fixed rate has not been above 3 percent since May 24.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM increased to 2.63 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was up from 2.61 percent a week ago.

The one-year ARM fell to 2.63 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was down from 2.64 percent a week ago.

“With gross domestic product growing only 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, inflation remains at bay and consequently mortgage rates low,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“In fact, the price index of personal consumption expenditures rose only 0.1 percent in January, which was below the market consensus forecast. Moreover, these low mortgage rates are helping to revive the housing market. For instance, the CoreLogic home price index rose 9.7 percent between January 2012 and 2013, marking the largest annual increase since April 2006.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications rose for the first time in three weeks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, soared 14.8 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index climbed 15 percent, while the Purchase Index also increased 15 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity was unchanged from the previous week, accounting for 77 percent of total applications.

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 03/07/2013

 
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