It is hard to imagine how two organizations could deviate more on the direction of mortgage rates than Freddie Mac and The Mortgage Bankers Association did in their respective reports for the week ending August 10 and August 11.

In the wake of the Federal Reserves' decision to halt, temporarily at least, the clockwork quarter-point increases they have made for months in the federal funds rate, Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey noted across the board drops in rates for three of the four products it tracks. MBA, however, reported that rates increased for each of the three mortgage products in its survey.



According to Freddie Mac the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped eight basis points to 6.55 percent with fees and points increasing from 0.3 to 0.4. This is the lowest rate for the 30-year since April 20. One year ago the rate was 5.89 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.20 percent compared to 6.27 percent the previous week. Fees and points for this product also increased from 0.3 to 0.4. One year ago the 15-year averaged 5.47 percent.

The 5/1-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgage was at 6.21 percent, six basis points lower than the week ended August 3 with fees and points unchanged at 0.4. The same week in 2005 the survey reported the rate at 5.40 percent.

Only the 1-year ARM was unchanged in the Freddie Mac survey, remaining at 5.69 percent for the second week in a row. Fees and points did move upward from 0.7 to 0.8. This is a substantial change from the same week last year when the traditional ARM averaged 4.57 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist said that the weaker than expected jobs report as well as the Fed's decision to pause on raising rates led to the lower rates. "Lower rates may bring about a rise in refinancing activity as homeowners with ARMs (that are) getting ready to reset decide to take advantage by locking into a fixed-rate mortgage now rather than waiting until the adjustment date when rates may be higher."

Meanwhile, MBA reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were up nine basis points to 6.54 percent although points, including the origination fee, went from 1.01 to .98. In spite of the substantial changes in two different directions, Freddie and MBA are nearly in agreement on the actual rate. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased from 6.10 to 6.15 percent with points unchanged at 1.09.

The 1-year ARM nudged up one basis point to 5.97 percent with points unchanged at 0.80.

All rates quoted are for conforming, 80 percent loan to value mortgages.

Mortgage application activity was up slightly from the previous week; 1.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 0.4 unadjusted. Mortgage activity, however, is still lagging the 2005 pace by double digits; mortgage applications last week were 25.6 percent lower than during the same week last year.

Refinancing represented 39.6 percent of all mortgage applications compared to 38.0 the previous week and adjustable rate mortgages claimed the lowest share of all mortgage activity since February 2004 at 27.2 percent.