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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 03/28/2013

Mortgage rates tick up slightly

Mortgage rates ticked up slightly after sinking last week for the first time since late January, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.57 percent with an average 0.8 point. It was up from 3.54 percent a week ago but down from 3.99 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has remained below 4 percent for more than a year now.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also increased, moving to 2.76 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 2.72 percent a week ago and 3.23 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3 percent for the past 10 months.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM climbed to 2.68 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.61 percent a week ago.

The one-year ARM fell to 2.62 percent with an average 0.3 percent. It was down from 2.63 percent a week ago.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said the low mortgage rates are invigorating the housing market.

“Existing home sales over January and February experienced the strongest two-month pace since November 2009, while new home sales were the strongest since August and September 2008,” Nothaft said in a statement. “This strong demand helped push the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index (seasonally adjusted) in January to its highest reading since December 2008. Moreover, the number of consumers expecting to purchase a home over the next six months rose to 5.6 percent in March, the second highest share since data was first collected in February 1964, according to The Conference Board.”

Not surprisingly after last week’s drop in mortgage rates, mortgage applications increased, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, grew 7.7 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index rose 8 percent, while the Purchase Index climbed 7 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged, accounting for 75 percent of total applications.

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 03/28/2013

 
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