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Mortgage rates fall following weak economic data

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Weak economic data pushed mortgages rates down last week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 4.28 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 4.37 percent a week ago and 3.52 percent a year ago. After edging closer to 4.5 percent the past few weeks, the 30-year fixed rate stayed below that mark for the eighth straight week.

The 15-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.32 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.39 percent a week ago and 2.76 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3.5 percent since Jan. 16.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were essentially flat. The five-year ARM average nudged down to 3.03 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.05 percent a week ago and 2.63 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average was unchanged at 2.52 percent with an average 0.3 point.

(The Washington Post) (The Washington Post)

“Mortgage rates were down this week as real GDP was revised downwards to 2.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2013,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Fixed residential investment negatively contributed to GDP decreasing 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter. The private sector added an estimated 139,000 jobs in February, which was below the market consensus and followed a downward revision of 48,000 jobs in January, according to the ADP Research Institute.”

Meanwhile, after three weeks of declines, mortgage applications picked up last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, soared 9.4 percent. The Refinance index jumped 10 percent, while the Purchase Index climbed 9 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity declined to its lowest level since September, accounting for 57.7 percent of all applications.

(Related on Wonkblog: If you refinanced your mortgage, you’re probably not going to want to sell your house)


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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