Mortgage rates seem to have leveled off for the time being

August 15, 2013

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Following a run-up in the spring and early summer, mortgage rates seem to have leveled off for the time being, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average held steady at 4.4 percent with an average 0.7 point, unchanged from a week ago. It was up from 3.62 percent a year ago. Since rising to a two-year high of 4.51 percent in mid-July, the 30-year fixed rate has hovered between 4.31 percent and 4.4 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average nudged up to 3.44 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was up from 3.43 percent a week ago but down from 2.88 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained above 3 percent since early June.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages showed an uptick. The five-year ARM jumped to 3.23 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was up from 3.19 percent a week ago. The one-year ARM increased to 2.67 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.62 percent a week ago.

“Fixed mortgage rates have been bouncing around over the past few weeks on market speculation that the Fed will taper some of its monetary stimulus,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “In fact, 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the Fed to reduce the amount of bond purchases at its Sept. 17-18 monetary policy committee meetings.

“Currently, mortgage rates on 30-year fixed mortgages are 1.1 percentage points above their all-time low set on November 21, 2012, which translates into $125 more per month in mortgage payments on a $200,000 loan.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications dwindled last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 4.7 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index dropped 4 percent, while the Purchase Index went down 5 percent.

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

(READ: Rent or buy? Running the numbers on a Bethesda condo)

 

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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