Mortgage rates increase heading into holiday season

November 27, 2013

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Mortgage rates continued to fluctuate heading into the holiday season, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average increased to 4.29 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was up from 4.22 percent a week ago, but down and up from 3.32 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has remained below 4.5 percent since Sept. 26, but has bounced around between 4.1 percent and 4.35 percent since then.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also rose, moving to 3.3 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 3.27 percent last week and 2.64 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has not sunk below 3 percent since late May.

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

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages fell. The five-year ARM average dropped to 2.94 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.95 percent a week ago and 2.72 percent a year ago. The five-year ARM has been below 3 percent four of the past five weeks.

The one-year ARM average trickled down to 2.6 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.61 percent a week ago.

“Fixed mortgage rates retraced some of their decline of the prior week as housing data portrayed mixed signals,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“The National Association of Realtors reported that their pending sales metric dipped for the fifth consecutive month and was slightly below year-ago levels, presaging a softening in sales near yearend.  Nonetheless, house prices rose as homes-for-sale inventory remained tight in many markets. The [Standard & Poor’s]/Case-Shiller House Price index released [Tuesday] showed prices in the 20 largest cities increased 13.3 percent annually in September, the highest year-over-year increase since February 2006, and a bit stronger than the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s U.S.-wide Purchase-Only index, which appreciated 8.5 percent over the same period.”

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

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 0.3 percent. The Refinance index rose 0.1 percent, while the Purchase Index dropped 0.2 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity edged up to 66 percent. In early September, the refinance share plummeted to 57 percent, its lowest level since April 2010. Refinances had accounted for more than 80 percent of applications earlier this year.

Twitter: @KathyOrtonWP, @postrealestate

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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