Mortgage rates appear stubbornly settled in


(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

For two months now, mortgages rates have been disinclined to move much in either direction, ticking up or down a basis point or two but never straying far.

Mortgage chart for Aug. 14

That trend continued this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average hit its yearly low for the fourth time since January, falling to 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 4.14 percent a week ago and 4.4 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped back down to 3.24 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.27 percent a week ago and 3.44 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average slid to 2.97 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.98 percent a week ago and 3.23 percent a year ago. The five-year ARM has stayed below 3 percent for seven of the past eight weeks.

The one-year ARM average inched up to 2.36 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.35 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates were down slightly amid a week of light economic reports,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Of the few releases, retail sales were virtually unchanged in July after a 0.2 percent increase in June, ending five months of increases. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales were up 0.1 percent last month.”

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

The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, decreased 2.7 percent. The refinance index dropped 4 percent, while the purchase index inched down 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 54 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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