The Washington Post

Mortgage rates

Mortgage rates showed a bit of a decline this week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average dipped to 3.54 percent with an average 0.8 point. It was down from 3.57 percent a week ago and 3.98 percent a year ago. For more than a year now, the 30-year fixed rate has remained below 4 percent. Except for a brief spike to 3.63 percent in March, the 30-year fixed rate has hovered around 3.5 percent since late January.

The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 2.74 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was down from 2.76 percent a week ago and 3.21 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3 percent for almost 11 months.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM fell to 2.65 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.68 percent a week ago.

The one-year ARM rose to 2.63 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.62 percent a week ago.

“Fixed mortgage rates dipped slightly while the manufacturing industry showed signs of slowing,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Regionally, both the Chicago and Milwaukee purchasing manager reports for March fell below the market consensus forecast. On a national scale, both the ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes also showed reductions in growth.”

After last week’s uptick in mortgage rates, mortgage applications declined, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, fell 4 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 6 percent, while the Purchase Index grew 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity continued to wane, accounting for 74 percent of total applications.

“Total purchase applications increased last week, due to an almost 7 percent increase in purchase applications for government loans,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “This was likely driven by borrowers applying for loans prior to the scheduled increase in FHA premiums that took effect on April 1. On a year over year basis, purchase applications are up about 4 percent, in line with the trend we are seeing in home sales volumes.” 

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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