Mortgage rates posted another week of mixed results as weak job growth helped keep a lid on inflation, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported today in their weekly surveys.
According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to an average 6.15 percent from last week’s 6.16 percent and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage held at 5.87 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.5 on the 30- and 15-year loans.
Costs on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) ticked higher this week, as the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM rose from 5.87 percent to 5.89 percent and the one-year ARM rate grew from 5.42 percent to 5.48 percent. Points on these loans averaged 0.6 and 0.7, respectively.
“Low employment growth in April — the slowest pace since November 2004 — and downward revisions to both February and March job growth tempered market concerns of future increases in the rate of inflation,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “As a result, mortgage rates were little changed this week.
“Despite a slowdown in house-price growth, borrowers continue to refinance their loans, extracting approximately $70.5 billion in cash from their home equity in the first quarter of 2007, down slightly from $77 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. According to the Federal Reserve Board, homeowners had nearly $11 trillion in home equity at the end of 2006, an increase of 30 percent over the past three years.”
In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates inched higher, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 6.29 percent. Discount and origination points on these loans averaged 0.24.
The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage, popular for refinancing, remained at 6 percent, according to Bankrate.com. With larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate was also unchanged at 6.54 percent. On adjustable-rate mortgages, the average 5/1 ARM and the average one-year ARM were both modestly higher, rising to 6.16 percent and 6.05 percent, respectively.
Bankrate.com said mortgage rates continue to fluctuate in a very narrow range. In recent weeks, watching the normally volatile mortgage rates has been like watching grass grow. The reason stems from the hands-off interest-rate policy of the Fed. With little likelihood of a Fed rate change any time soon, a view reinforced by the May 9 FOMC statement, yields on longer-term Treasury securities — to which mortgage rates are closely tied — have been remarkably docile.
The following is a sampling of Bankrate.com’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas:
New York – 6.28 percent with 0.01 point
Los Angeles – 6.33 percent with 0.39 point
Chicago – 6.4 percent with 0.03 point
San Francisco – 6.24 percent with 0.45 point
Philadelphia – 6.31 percent with 0.2 point
Detroit – 6.34 percent with no points
Boston – 6.34 percent with 0.04 point
Houston – 6.24 percent with 0.42 point
Dallas – 6.16 percent with 0.45 point
Washington, D.C. – 6.23 percent with 0.41 point