Rates on 30-year mortgages declined for a third consecutive week as bond investors worried that Hurricane Katrina and soaring energy prices might slow the economy.
"Market jitters about high energy costs and the spill over into other sectors of the economy have led to a decline in bond yields, which typically mean lower mortgage rates," said Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at Freddie Mac.
Nothaft said that speculation that the possible economic slowdown will cause the Federal Reserve to pause in raising interest rates could also contribute to further declines in mortgage rates.
Freddie Mac reported Thursday that nationwide rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages were an average of 5.71 percent this week, down from last week's 5.77 percent. Rates are now at their lowest point since mid-July and significantly below the four-month high of 5.89 percent, which occurred during the week of Aug. 11.
Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.32 percent this week, down from 5.35 percent last week.
One-year adjustable-rate mortgages were 4.48 percent, down from 4.56 percent. Rates on five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 5.30 percent this week, unchanged from last week.
The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Both the five-year and 30-year mortgages carried an average fee of 0.6 point this week. The 15-year mortgage carried an average fee of 0.5 point while the one-year ARM had an average fee of 0.7 point.
A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 5.77 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 5.15 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 3.97 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM which it began tracking this year.
EVENTS . . . Architecture Week 2005 includes a variety of programs sponsored by the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects. On Sept. 10, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at 1777 Church St. NW, a children's tour and workshop of Dupont Circle discusses architectural styles, shapes and materials. Children ages 6 to 12 can them make a rowhouse in a hands-on activity. Snacks are included. The program is free, but reservations are required. Call 202-667-1798 for information. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., participants can meet at 1449 Church St. NW to tour modern architecture and a loft dwelling, and see three examples of the contemporary loft apartments. The fee is $30, registration is required. For information, call 202-667-1798; Web site: www.aiadc.com. . . . On Sept. 14, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., "Dinner with the Architect at BlackSalt" offers a chance to join executive chef Jeff Black and architect Peter Hapstak of CORE architecture + design for an evening of seafood and a behind-the-scenes account of how they designed the restarant at 4883 MacArthur Blvd. NW. The fee is $60 and includes menu specialties and wine pairings; reservation required. Call 202-342-9101 and ask about the "architect dinner." For other events, call 202-667-1798; Web site: www.aiadc.com.
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