Mortgage rates wander upward

October 17, 2013

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

As the federal shutdown dragged into its second week, mortgage rates continued to wander upward, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.28 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was up from 4.23 percent a week ago and from 3.37 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate, which spiked to 4.58 percent in August, has remained below 4.5 percent the past month.

The 15-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.33 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 3.31 percent a week ago and 2.66 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate, which reached its highest level, 3.6 percent, in August, has remained above 3 percent since early June.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM averaged 3.07 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was up from 3.05 percent a week ago and 2.75 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average fell to 2.63 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.64 percent a week ago.

(Pam Tobey/The Washington Post)
(Pam Tobey/The Washington Post)

“Fixed mortgage rates edged up leading to the federal budget deadline,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Recent confidence measures depict some of the effects of the government shutdown and uncertainty of the budget impasse. For instance, consumer sentiment in October fell for the second straight month to the lowest reading since January, according to the University of Michigan. Similarly, October’s homebuilder confidence fell to a four-month low.”

Despite rising interest rates, mortgage applications showed another slight increase, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, grew 0.3 percent. The Refinance index rose 3 percent, while the Purchase Index dropped 5 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66 percent, a month after sinking to 57 percent, its lowest level since April 2010. Refinances had accounted for more than 80 percent of applications earlier this year.

“The government shutdown had a notable impact on the mortgage market last week,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement. “Purchase applications for government programs dropped by more than 7 percent over the week to their lowest level since December 2007, and the government share of purchase applications dropped to its lowest level in almost three years. Conventional purchase applications dropped as well, but not to the same extent, falling almost 4 percent for the week.”

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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