Mortgage rates fall after two-week climb

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Mortgage rates turned lower this week, but mostly remain above last year’s levels, according to the latest report released Thursday from Freddie Mac.

After two consecutive weeks of gains, the 30-year fixed rate average dropped to 4.17 percent, with an average of 0.6 point. That’s down from 4.2 percent last week but still above the 3.93 percent average this time last year.

The 15-year average slipped, too, but only barely, from 3.31 last week to 3.3 percent, with an average 0.5 point. A year ago, it was 3.04 percent.

Meanwhile, the average five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage dipped to 3.00 percent — with an average 0.4 point — down from 3.05 percent last week. The one-year hybrid climbed to 2.41 percent — with an average 0.4 point — from 2.40 percent a week earlier. One year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 2.79 percent and the one-year rate averaged 2.57 percent.

“Mortgage rates were down slightly for the week,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a statement. He pointed to a decline in new housing starts and building permits as likely culprits for the small slide in rates.

The turnaround mirrored a similar decline in mortgage application volume last week.

Coming on the heels of a 10.3 percent jump in the number of new applications the week prior, the volume dropped 9.2 percent this past week, essentially erasing the previous week’s gains, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey.

Refinances were also down, off 13 percent from the week before, while applications for purchases dropped 5 percent.


J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.



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