The Washington Post

Mortgage rates continue five-week decline

In the wake of weak economic growth reports, mortgage rates continued their five-week descent, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average fell near its all-time low, dropping to 3.35 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was down from 3.4 percent a week ago and 3.84 percent a year ago. Since rising to 3.63 percent in mid-March, the 30-year fixed rate has fallen every week but one. The lowest the 30-year fixed rate has been was 3.31 percent on Nov. 21.

The 15-year fixed-rate average tumbled to 2.56 percent with an average 0.7 point, a new record low. It was down from 2.61 percent a week ago and 3.07 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate hasn’t been above 3 percent for nearly a year.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also fell. The five-year ARM sank to 2.56 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was down from 2.58 percent a week ago.

The one-year ARM dropped to 2.56 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was down from 2.62 percent a week ago. This week marked the first time in history the 15-year fixed, five-year ARM and one-year ARM all averaged the same percentage.

“Mortgage rates eased somewhat following the release of the advance estimate of real GDP growth for the first quarter of the year, which rose 2.5 percent but fell short of the market consensus forecast,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “The latest GDP report confirmed that the housing sector has become an important contributor to the economic recovery. Residential fixed investment added to overall economic growth over the past eight consecutive quarters and contributed more than 0.3 percentage points in growth over the first three months of this year. Moreover, near record low mortgage rates should further drive the housing market recovery over the near term.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications showed a slight uptick, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, rose 1.8 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index grew 3 percent, while the Purchase Index shrank 1.4 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity remained unchanged, accounting for 75 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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