Industry News

Housing sends mortgage rates lower

Construction levels weak in January

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Mortgage rates dropped this week after the release of a disappointing home construction report, Freddie Mac reported today. Housing starts in January "showed the weakest reading since August 1997, due to the abundance of homes already on the market to purchase," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. This report, Nothaft said, has "market participants concerned over how much drag the slowing housing market may have on economic growth." The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slid to an average 6.22 percent from 6.3 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell from 6.03 percent to 5.97 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.5 on these loans. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) dipped to an average 5.96 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, while the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM d...