A rise in jobless claims and weaker employment growth sent mortgage rates down this week, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com. In Freddie Mac' survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to an average 6.28 percent from last week's 6.34 percent, while the average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans dipped from 6.06 percent to 6.02 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.3 on the 30- and 15-year loans. "News of moderate employment gains in January led to a halt in the recent upward trend of interest-rate movements," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "The 111,000 jobs added last month were fewer than had been anticipated, while the unemployment rate edged up...
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