MCLEAN, VA - OCTOBER 21: The headquarters of Freddie Mac are seen October 21, 2010 in McLean, Virginia. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced today that U.S.-backed mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have already required $148 billion in bailouts, may now need up to $363 billion in taxpayer-funded Treasury Department aid under worst-case scenarios. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

After two weeks of spikes, mortgage rates retreated this week, falling back to where they had hovered most of the summer.

With long-term bonds trading in a narrow band, home loan rates likely have settled in ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting next week. While most observers do not expect the Fed to raise rates in November, they are anticipating a rate hike in December.

At the same time, the financial markets appear reluctant to make any moves ahead of the presidential election, which means mortgage rates are likely to hold steady at least until after Nov. 8., which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that 80 percent of the experts it surveyed believe rates will remain unchanged in the coming week, moving less and plus or minus two basis points. (A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.)

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average tumbled to 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.52 percent a week ago and 3.76 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate, which had jumped 10 basis points in two weeks, dropped back below 3.5 percent, where it has spent all but two weeks of the past four months.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slipped to 2.78 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.79 percent a week ago and 2.98 percent a year ago.

The five-year adjustable rate average inched down to 2.84 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.85 percent a week ago and 2.89 percent a year ago.

“Mortgage rates continue to be relatively stable and at near record lows,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement. “The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points week-over-week to 3.47 percent, erasing last week’s increase. At the same time, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week relatively flat – up about 2 basis points.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications declined this week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — fell 4.1 percent from the previous week. The refinance index fell 2 percent, while the purchase index decreased 7 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 62.7 percent of all applications.