After two big jumps the past two weeks, fixed mortgage rates paused to catch their breath this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
Home loan rates were largely unmoved ahead of Wednesday’s release of the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s October meeting. The minutes seemed to indicate a rate hike could be possible after the Fed’s Dec. 16 meeting.
The 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.97 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.98 percent a week ago and 3.99 percent a year ago. Since the end of October, the 30-year fixed rate had jumped 22 basis points before falling this week. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)
The 15-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.18 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.2 percent a week ago and 3.17 percent a year ago.
Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also fell. The five-year ARM average dropped to 2.98 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.03 percent a week ago and 3.01 percent a year ago.
The one-year ARM average dipped to 2.64 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 2.65 percent a week ago and 2.44 percent a year ago.
“Treasury yields stabilized about 5 basis points below last week’s level as the market shrugged off economic data and world events and turned its attention to the minutes of the October FOMC meeting,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.
“In response, the 30-year mortgage rate ticked down a basis point to 3.97 percent. The FOMC minutes were couched in careful Fed-speak, and early market reaction was mixed, with most analysts reading their own expectations into the minutes.”
Meanwhile, last week’s higher home loan rates didn’t deter borrowers as mortgage applications grew, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Even though mortgage rates rose to their highest levels since the summer, the market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume – rose 6.2 percent from the previous week. The refinance index ticked up 2 percent, while the purchase index jumped 12 percent. Purchase applications are 19 percent higher than a year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 58.6 percent of all applications.