Thirty-year fixed mortgage rate sinks to six-month low


(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Mortgage rates fell last week amid weak economic reports, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Mortgage chart for May 8

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to a six-month low, dropping to 4.21 percent with an average 0.6 point. It hasn’t been that low since Nov. 7. The 30-year fixed rate was 4.29 percent a week ago and 3.42 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average declined to 3.32 percent with an average 0.6 point, its lowest level in nearly two months. The 15-year fixed rate was 3.38 percent a week ago and 2.61 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were little changed. The five-year ARM average held steady at 3.05 percent with an average 0.5 point, same as it was a week ago. It was 2.58 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average edged down to 2.43 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.45 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates continued moving down following the decline in 10-year Treasury yields after a dismal report on real GDP growth in the first quarter,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications picked up, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, grew 5.3 percent. The refinance index edged up 2 percent, while the purchase index surged to 9 percent, its highest level since January.

For the first time in five years, more people applied for mortgages to purchase a home than to refinance one. The refinance share of mortgage activity fell to 49 percent of all applications.

“It’s official: We are in a majority purchase market for the first time since 2009,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“A sizeable increase in purchase applications last week likely reflected the impact of somewhat lower mortgage rates as well as continued growth in the job market, as confirmed by Friday’s employment report from the [Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Despite the strong increase in the purchase market last week, volume continues to run 16 percent behind last year’s pace.”

Twitter: @KathyOrtonWP, @PostRealEstate

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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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