Mortgage rates once again were nearly unchanged from the previous week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.
The 30-year fixed-rate average, which had not moved for the past three weeks, ticked up slightly to 3.56 percent with an average 0.8 point. Since rising above the 3.5 percent mark a month ago, it had held steady at 3.53 percent. A year ago at this time it was 3.95 percent.
The 15-year fixed-rate average was unchanged at 2.77 percent with an average 0.8 point. A year ago, it was 3.19 percent. The 15-year fixed rate has not been above 3 percent since May 24.
Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM was unchanged at 2.64 percent with an average 0.5 point. The one-year ARM was 2.65 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was up from 2.61 percent a week ago.
“Mortgage rates have been relatively stable, hovering near record lows, for the past four weeks, which is helping to spur new home construction,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “For instance, new construction on single-family houses rose to an annualized rate of 613,000 in January, the most since July 2008. In addition, single-family building permits were up to the highest issuance level since June 2008.”
Meanwhile, mortgage applications declined for the second week in a row, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, fell 1.7 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index was down 2 percent, while the Purchase Index decreased 2 percent.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 77 percent of total applications.