Mortgage rates increase for second week in a row

December 5, 2013

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Mortgage rates continued their climb on the heels of strong economic reports, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. After bouncing around the past couple of months, fixed rates increased for the second week in a row.

The 30-year fixed-rate average spiked to 4.46 with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.29 percent a week ago and 3.34 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has remained below 4.5 percent since late September.

The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 3.47 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.3 percent a week ago and 2.67 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has stayed below 3.5 percent since late September.

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

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average rose to 2.99 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.94 percent a week ago and 2.69 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average fell to 2.59 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.60 percent a week ago.

“Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following stronger than expected economic data releases,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Private companies added 215,000 new jobs in November according to the ADP employment report, well above the consensus. In addition, revisions added 54,000 jobs in the prior month. Lastly, new home sales rose 25 percent in the month of October to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 annual pace, though this followed a weaker than expected September report and downward revisions over the summer months.”

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 12.8 percent during the Thanksgiving-holiday shortened week. The Refinance index sank 18 percent, while the Purchase Index dropped 4 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity dipped to 63 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 | December 5, 2013