Mortgage rates barely budged this week, as markets prepare for the Federal Reserve’s next move and inflation measures were mixed, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.
In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to an average 6.36 percent, down from 6.37 percent last week, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 6.06 percent.
Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.5 on the 30- and 15-year loans.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 6.11 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, up slightly from 6.1 percent last week. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.57 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 5.56 percent.
“Mortgage rates didn’t move much either way this week as the markets wait for the next scheduled FOMC meeting,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “General consensus leans heavily toward the notion that the Fed will not raise rates at that meeting, taking upward pressure off mortgage rates this week.
“A rate change in either direction would impact short-term rates more directly, but what the Fed says in its statement can have an impact on long-term rates.”
In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates showed little movement this week. The average 30-year fixed mortgage remained at 6.42 percent, with an average of 0.32 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular for refinancing, moved to 6.1 percent, down from 6.11 percent last week, according to Bankrate.com. On larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate slipped to 6.67 percent from 6.68 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages showed a slight increase, with the average 5/1 ARM inching up to 6.24 from 6.23 percent and the average one-year ARM rising to 5.92 from 5.9 percent.
Bankrate.com said that various forces vied to push rates upward and pull them downward. Leading the way were two important measures of inflation that came out this week: the Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level, and the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation at the retail level. Both of them showed that overall prices fell in September, but core prices went up.
Overall prices include food and fuel, while core prices exclude food and fuel because those two commodities can jump up and down rapidly from month to month in response to bad weather, war and the vagaries of the markets. And that’s what fuel prices did, according to Bankrate.com. Retail energy prices fell 7.2 percent in September, and wholesale energy prices dropped 8.4 percent.
But when you strip out food and energy, prices were up. After all the pushing and pulling was done, mortgage rates ended up pretty much where they were last week, Bankrate.com reported.
Fixed mortgage rates are higher than one year ago, Bankrate.com said. At the time, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.17 percent, meaning that the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $ 1,007. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.42 percent, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,034.
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 – 6.39 percent with 0.12 point
Los Angeles – 6.47 percent with 0.44 point
Chicago – 6.57 percent with 0.05 point
San Francisco – 6.42 percent with 0.44 point
Philadelphia – 6.36 percent with 0.39 point
Detroit – 6.49 percent with 0.01 point
Boston – 6.44 percent with 0.15 point
Houston – 6.38 percent with 0.53 point
Dallas – 6.4 percent with 0.46 point
Washington, D.C. – 6.26 percent with 0.56 point