Mortgage rates hold steady


(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Mortgage rates held steady this week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

Following July’s weak jobs report, the 30-year fixed-rate average moved up slightly, rising to 4.4 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 4.39 percent a week ago and 3.59 percent a year ago. Since rising to a two-year high of 4.51 percent a month ago amid concerns that the Federal Reserve would back off its bond-buying program, the 30-year fixed rate has fluctuated between 4.31 percent and 4.4 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average remained unchanged from last week at 3.43 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 2.84 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has averaged above 3 percent since early June.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM went up to 3.19 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.18 percent a week ago. The one-year ARM fell to 2.62 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 2.64 percent last week.

“Even though the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July, which was the lowest since December 2008, the economy added only 161,000 jobs, short of the market consensus forecast,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “In addition, revisions subtracted 26,000 workers in the prior two months. Finally, hourly wages fell 0.1 percent in July, representing the first decline since October 2012.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications also showed little movement, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, inched up 0.2 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index was unchanged, while the Purchase Index grew only 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity hasn’t moved in a month. Since sinking to its lowest level in 27 months four weeks ago, it has remained at 63 percent of total applications.

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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