Mortgage rates pushed down by weak economic data

November 21, 2013

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Weak economic data pushed mortgage rates down a week after fixed rates spiked to their highest point in two months, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 4.22 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was down from 4.35 percent a week ago, but up from 3.31 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed-rate has remained below 4.5 percent since Sept. 26.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.27 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 3.35 percent a week ago and 2.63 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has not been below 3 percent since late May.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average fell to 2.95 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.01 percent a week ago and 2.74 percent a year ago. The five-year ARM has been below 3 percent three of the past four weeks.

The one-year ARM average held steady at 2.61 percent with an average 0.4 point.

“Fixed mortgage rates fell this week on reports of weaker manufacturing growth and declines in overall inflation rates,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Industrial production slipped by 0.1 percent in October, below the market consensus forecast of a 0.2 percent gain. The consumer price index also unexpectedly fell during the month. On an annual basis, consumer prices are up 1 percent, the smallest increase since October 2009.”

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

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 2.3 percent. The Refinance index sank 7 percent, while the Purchase Index rose 6 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity dipped to 64 percent. In early September, the refinance share had sunk to 57 percent, its lowest level since April 2010. Refinances had accounted for more than 80 percent of applications earlier this year.

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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Kathy Orton · November 21, 2013