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Mortgage rates show slight increase heading into the end of the year

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Mortgage rates moved up slightly heading into the end of the year, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average nudged up to 4.48 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 4.47 percent a week ago and 3.35 percent a year ago. Since spiking to 4.58 percent in late August, the 30-year fixed rate has bounced between 4.57 percent and 4.1 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average ticked up to 3.52 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 3.51 percent a week ago and 2.65 percent a year ago. Before rising above 3.5 percent last week, the 15-year fixed rate had remained below that mark since late September.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average hit 3 percent for the first time since mid-November. It was 3 percent with an average 0.4 point. The five-year ARM average was 2.96 percent a week ago and 2.7 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average fell to 2.56 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was down from 2.57 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week following mixed economic reports,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Real GDP was revised upwards to 4.1 percent growth in the third quarter of this year. However, existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4,900,000 in November.  Also, new home sales fell 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000.”

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

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, sank 6.3 percent. The Refinance index dropped 8 percent, while the Purchase Index fell 4 percent.

“Following the Federal Reserve’s taper announcement, mortgage application volume dropped again last week, with rates increasing and refinance application volume falling to its lowest level since November 2008,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement  “Purchase application volume was weak, too, continuing to run more than 10 percent below last year’s pace.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 65 percent of all applications.

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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