Mortgage rates were largely unchanged during the week ended March 27 according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey conducted by Freddie Mac.

Long-term mortgages were mixed while short-term rates moved up modestly. The most dramatic changes were to average fees and points which had reached unusually high levels the previous week.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.85 percent with an average 0.4 point compared to 5.87 percent with 0.5 point the week before.

The 15-year FRM increased to 5.34 percent from 5.27 percent. Fees and points decreased from 0.5 to 0.4 compared to a week earlier.



Five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) had an average contract interest rate of 5.67 percent, up 9 basis points from one week earlier. Fees and points declined from a recent high of 0.9 to 0.6 point.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.24 percent compared to 5.15 percent a week earlier. Fees and points averaged 0.5 point compared to 0.8 point the previous week.

"Long-term mortgage rates were mixed, but relatively unchanged in the past week as the latest economic indicators came in much as expected," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "For instance, the index of leading indicators continued to fall for the fifth straight month while consumer confidence reached a 5-year low.

"On the housing front, house prices keep declining across the nation. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index' was the most recent to document the drop in prices, reporting a decline of 2.3 percent from December to January in its 10-City Composite Index and a cumulative decline of 11.4 percent from January a year ago. Lower prices improve affordability and the National Association of Realtors reported that its home affordability index was at the highest level in nearly five years, contributing to a pickup in existing home sales in February."

The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended March 27 reported that the average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs increased one basis point to 5.75 percent with points, including the origination fee, rising to 1.19 from 1.13.

The average rate for 15-year FRMs increased to 5.27 percent from 5.23 percent with points decreasing from 1.15 to 1.13.

The one-year ARM had an average interest rate of 7.0 percent, down from 7.02 percent the previous week with points decreasing from 1.72 to 1.39.

Mortgage application volume was down 28.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from a week earlier and 28.1 percent unadjusted. The volume, however, showed a 4.8 percent increase from the same week in 2007.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 53.4 percent of total applications from 62.0 percent the previous week. The ARM share of activity increased to 5.4 from 3.8 percent of total applications from the previous week.