The Washington Post

Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates held steady for the most part this past week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average was unchanged from the previous week, remaining at 3.53 percent with an average 0.8 point. A year ago at this time, it was 3.87 percent. It marked the second week in a row it has been above 3.5 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slipped to 2.77 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was down from 2.81 percent a week ago and 3.16 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3 percent since May 24.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages also declined. The five-year ARM fell to 2.63 percent with an average 0.6 point. It had been 2.70 percent a week ago. The one-year ARM edged down to 2.53 percent with an average 0.4 point. It had been 2.59 percent.

“Mortgage rates were either unchanged or lower this week following a mostly positive employment data report for January,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “In January, the economy gained 157,000 new jobs and revisions to November and December added another 127,000 workers. On top of that, the annual benchmark update showed payrolls grew by an additional 424,000 jobs between April 2011 and March 2012. The only downside to the report was that the unemployment rate ticked up from 7.8 to 7.9 percent in January, which is still historically high.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications were on the rise, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, climbed 3.4 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index was up 4 percent, while the Purchase Index increased 2 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity, however, was down. After falling below the 80 percent mark last week for the first time since August, it accounted for 78 percent of total 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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