Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey placed the 30-year fixed
rate mortgage (FRM) at 6.16 percent, little changed from the previous
week when the 30-year averaged 6.14 percent. Fees and points averaged 0.4 both
weeks. During the same week in 2006 this product carried an average rate of
The 15-year FRM averaged 5.90 percent up two basis points from the previous
week but six basis points lower than one year ago. Fees and points were unchanged
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) were priced
slightly higher at 5.91 percent, one basis point above a week earlier. Fees
and points were unchanged at 0.6. One year ago the 5/1 hybrid rate was 5.96
Only the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM's rate was down, averaging 5.40
percent compared to 5.42 percent the week before. Fees and points averaged 0.7
both weeks. The interest rate was nearly identical to the 5.41 average one year
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist indicated that
the market was in a holding pattern. "Mortgage rates were stable
this week as the bond market took readings on producer prices and consumer prices
in stride," he said. "Excluding food and energy, core inflation at the wholesale
level was up more than had been anticipated in February, but at the retail level
the increase was in line with expectations." Weighing the relevant factors,
the Fed decided to leave the target federal funds rate unchanged at 5.25 percent.
"Looking at the housing market, construction of new homes
picked up in February after falling to a ten-year low in January. The improvement
was better than consensus forecasts."
The Mortgage Bankers Association data from its Weekly Mortgage Applications
Survey for the week ending March 23 was similarly lethargic. Rates were down
in the survey but fixed rates dropped only two basis points in each case while
the sole ARM the Survey tracks moved only slightly more.
Average contract interest rate for the 30-year FRM was 6.04 percent with points,
including the origination fee, increasing to 1.33 from 1.3. The 15-year FRM
decreased to 5.77 percent with points decreasing to 1.14 from 1.17. The one-year
ARM dropped four basis points to 5.84 with points decreasing to 0.72 from 0.73.
Mortgage activity was equally lackluster. The Market Composite
Index, a measure of mortgage application volume was down 0.2 percent on both
a seasonally adjusted and unadjusted basis from the week before although it
was up 16.6 percent compared to the same week in 2006.
Refinancing as a share of all mortgage applications decreased from 45.3 percent
to 45.1 percent and the adjustable rate mortgage share of applications was down
from 20.9 percent to 20.2 percent.