Mortgage rates this week were virtually unchanged from last week, as markets felt the effect of declining consumer confidence and weak job growth, according to surveys conducted by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac and Bankrate.
In Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.58 percent for the week ended today, unchanged from last week. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 4.89 percent, up very slightly from last week’s average of 4.87 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.7.
One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.5 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.53 percent last week. This is the lowest the one-year ARM has been since the week ended July 4, 2003, when it averaged 3.49 percent.
“Financial markets seem to have locked into this level of mortgage rates. There was very little movement either way this week,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. “And it looks like consumers are taking advantage of the low level of mortgage rates, as applications for home purchases and refinancing are up for the last two weeks.
Mortgage rates inched slightly higher but remain among the lowest in the past seven months, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage nudged higher from 5.58 percent to 5.6 percent. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.34 discount and origination points.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing ticked higher, from 4.91 percent to 4.92 percent. The jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bumped up 2 basis points to 5.8 percent, while the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points to another record low of 3.55 percent. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percentage point.
“Much of the direction in mortgage rates in the next five weeks will be governed by the March 5 employment report,” said Bankrate senior financial analyst Greg McBride. “Job growth has been fleeting and unimpressive. If that trend is to improve, it won’t happen overnight.”
Another factor holding down rates is the expectation that the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee won’t raise interest rates soon. Despite continued economic expansion, declining consumer confidence is keeping a lid on bond yields and mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term government bonds.
The following is a sampling of Bankrate’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas.
New York – 5.67 percent with no points
Los Angeles – 5.56 percent with 0.6 point
Chicago – 5.64 percent with 0.13 point
San Francisco – 5.64 percent with 0.43 point
Philadelphia – 5.64 percent with 0.11 point
Detroit – 5.48 percent with 0.45 point
Boston – 5.7 percent with no points
Houston – 5.55 percent with 0.62 point
Dallas – 5.54 percent with 0.6 point
Washington, D.C. – 5.56 percent with 0.43 point
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