The 30-year fixed-rate average fell for the fourth week in a row, sliding to 3.79 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.81 percent a week ago and 3.66 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has fallen 22 basis points in the past month and is at its lowest level since late October. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)
The 15-year fixed-rate average dropped to 3.07 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.1 percent a week ago and 2.98 percent a year ago.
The five-year adjustable rate average slipped to 2.90 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.91 percent a week ago and 2.86 percent a year ago.
“The yield on the 10-year Treasury stabilized around 2 percent this week,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.
“The recent market turmoil has given the Fed pause; as was universally expected, the Fed stood pat this week but kept its options open for a rate increase in March. This week’s housing releases confirmed the momentum of home sales going into 2016. A hesitant Fed, sub-4-percent mortgage rates (at least for a little while longer), and strong housing fundamentals should generate a three percent increase in home sales this year.”
Meanwhile, as rates dropped, more homeowners sought to refinance their mortgages, and that caused applications to rise, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — grew 8.8 percent from the previous week. The refinance jumped 11 percent, while the purchase index rose 5 percent.
The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 59 percent of all applications.