The interest rates on fixed rate mortgages (FRM) were up during the week ended February 14 according to the results of Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year FRM increased to 5.72 from 5.67 the previous week with fees and points unchanged at 0.4. One year ago the 30-year FRM averaged 6.30 percent.

The 15-year FRM averaged 5.25 percent with 0.4 point compared to 5.15 percent with 0.4 point a week earlier. During the same week in 2007 the average interest rate was 6.03 percent.



Adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), however, inched slightly lower. The rate of a five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM was down two basis points to 5.19 percent. Fees and points for this product were also unchanged at 0.4. One year ago the five-year hybrid averaged 6.01 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMS which averaged 5.03 percent with 0.5 point during the week ended February 7 declined slightly to 5.0 percent with 0.4 point. At this time last year that product averaged 5.52 percent.

Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist commented on the rates; "This week was relatively light on the number of economic data releases, which painted a mixed picture regarding the current state of the economy. On a positive note, labor productivity rose higher than market forecasts in the fourth quarter of 2007 while gains in labor costs slowed. However, pending existing home sales fell for the second month in December, indicating further weakness in home sales for January and February. As a result, mortgage rates were roughly unchanged this week.

"These historically low mortgage rates and declining house prices contributed to the highest housing affordability in December since March 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors®. However, with banks continuing to tighten lending standards, fewer families will likely have an opportunity to take advantage of these factors."

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended February 15 revealed a similar pattern for fixed rate loans, but the changes were much more pronounced.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped 37 basis points to 6.09 percent with points, including the origination fee, decreasing to 1.10 from 1.15.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.55 percent from 5.18 percent, with points unchanged at 1.08.

The only adjustable rate product tracked by the MBA, the one-year ARM remained unchanged at 5.72 percent, with points increasing to 0.91 from 0.90.

Mortgage application activity dropped 22.6 percent from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis and 21.2 percent unadjusted. Volume, however, was still 33.9 percent higher than it had been the same week one year earlier.

Applications for refinancing as a percentage of all mortgage applications decreased to 61.7 percent from 67.4 percent a week earlier while the market share of adjustable rate mortgages rose to 12.8 percent from 9.9 percent the previous week.