It was one of those weeks when one had to wonder if Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association were operating in the same universe. The former presented results of its weekly survey indicating that mortgage rates were dead in the water while the latter reported substantial interest rate declines for all products.

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending October 18 show that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was unchanged at 6.40 percent although fees and points did increase from 0.4 to 0.5.

The 15 year FRM had an average contract interest rate of 6.08 with 0.6 point compared to 6.06 percent with 0.5 points a week earlier.



Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 6.11 percent, two basis points lower than one week earlier. Fees and points averaged 0.5 both weeks.

All three of these average rates were within two or three basis points of the averages one year earlier.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM climbed three basis points to 5.76 percent. Fees and points were unchanged at 0.6. One year ago that product averaged 5.57 percent.

"Both economic indicators and mortgage rates came in mixed this week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "While retail sales were stronger in September, consumer confidence fell below market expectations in October. Moreover, both the core consumer price index and producer prices for September remained contained.

"In his October 15th speech, Fed Chairman Bernanke suggested housing would be a 'significant drag' on the economy going into the next year. Indeed, inventories of unsold homes remained exceptionally high. And October's homebuilder confidence fell to the lowest level since 1985, when record keeping began."

MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 19, however, showed double digit drops in both of the fixed rate products it tracks. The 30-year FRM decreased to 6.21 percent with 1.13 points (including the origination fee) from 6.40 percent with 1.04 points.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also dropped substantially, from 6.09 percent to 5.86 percent although points increased to 1.06 from 1.03.

The rate change for the one-year ARM was less dramatic but that product was still down seven basis points to 6.10 with points decreasing to 0.92 from 0.94.

Mortgage applications were nearly identical to that of the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis although it increased 11.2 percent on an unadjusted basis and was 11.5 percent higher than the same week in 2006. The previous week had been shortened by the Columbus Day holiday which accounts for the slightly skewed numbers.

Refinancing as a percent of all mortgage activity increased to 47.0 percent from 45.3 percent the previous week and the adjustable rate mortgage share of the market actually increased to 14.2 percent from 13.5 percent the previous week.