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Fixed mortgage rates edge down

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Fixed mortgage rates moved lower last week, but only slightly, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Wednesday’s gloomy economic data had not had a chance to affect the rates. But even if it had, it is unlikely they would have moved much. Since mid-January, they have been hovering at about the same place, ticking up or down slightly from week to week.

The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 4.29 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 4.33 percent a week ago and 3.35 percent a year ago. It is only slightly higher than it was two weeks ago and slightly lower than it was three weeks ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average edged down to 3.38 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.39 percent a week ago and 2.56 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages rose. The five-year ARM average crept up to 3.05 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.03 percent a week ago and 2.56 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average increased to 2.45 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.44 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates were down slightly following the release of real GDP estimates for the first quarter of the year which rose 0.1 percent and fell well short of market expectations,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Meanwhile, the pending home sales index rose in March ending eight consecutive months of decline and the [Standard & Poor’s]/Case-Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 12.9 percent over the 12-months ending in February 2014.”

Mortgage applications stumbled last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 5.9 percent. The refinance index sank 7 percent, while the purchase index dropped 4 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity plummeted to its lowest level in six years, falling to 50 percent of all applications.

“Both purchase and refinance application activity fell last week, and the market composite index is at its lowest level since December 2000,” Mike Fratantoni, Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“Purchase applications decreased 4 percent over the week, and were 21 percent lower than a year ago. Refinance activity also continued to slide despite a 30-year fixed rate that was unchanged from the previous week. The refinance index dropped 7 percent to the lowest level since 2008, continuing the declining trend that we have seen since May 2013.”

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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