The Washington Post

Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates edged up slightly this week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

After falling to a historic low last week, the 30-year fixed-rate average crept up to 3.32 percent with an average 0.8 point. The 30-year average, which was 3.31 percent a week ago and 4 percent a year ago at this time, has been below 3.5 percent the past 10 weeks.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also went up, rising to 2.64 percent with an average 0.6 points from 2.63 percent a week ago. Last year at this time, it was 3.30 percent. Since it fell to 2.69 percent eight weeks ago, the 15-year average has remained below the five-year adjustable-rate average.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mostly unchanged. The five-year arm dropped to 2.72 percent with an average 0.6 points from 2.74 percent a week ago. It was 2.90 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM remained the same as it was last week at 2.56 percent with an average 0.5 points. It was 2.78 percent a year ago.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, pointed to growing concerns about the fiscal cliff as the reason why mortgage rates were little changed this week.

“Although low mortgage rates failed to boost new home sales in October, year-to-date sales are up 20 percent compared with 2011 volumes, and there are growing signs of a turnaround in house prices,” Nothaft said in a statement. “The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index (seasonally adjusted) rose 5.2 percent over the first three quarters of this year. In addition, all 20 of the city indices (seasonally adjusted) had positive growth over the first 9 months.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications continued to fall, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, decreased 0.9 percent from last week. The Refinance Index fell 2 percent, while the Purchase Index was up 3 percent compared with the previous week.

The refinance share of mortgage activity held steady at 81 percent of total applications, unchanged from the previous two weeks.

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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