After four weeks of general if not universal declines, mortgage rates were up across the board during the week ending September 15 (Freddie Mac) and September 16 (Mortgage Bankers Association).

Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage was up three basis points to 5.74 percent from the previous week The 15-year increased from 5.30 to 5.32, and the 5/1 ARM averaged 5.26, two basis point higher than the week ended September 8. Fees and points for all three loan products were unchanged at 0.6.

The 1-year ARM nudged up one basis point while fees and points associated with that type of loan dropped from 0.7 to 0.6.

The Mortgage Bankers Association survey reported larger increases than Freddie Mac. The 30-year loan rose 9 basis points to 5.81 percent while points increased to 1.21 from 1.18 the previous week. The 15-year fixed was also up 9 points to 5.38 percent but points decreased to 1.25 from 1.31 the previous week. The 1-year ARM increased from 4.82 to 4.94 percent with points decreasing to 1.00 from 1.04.

All MBA figures are for 80 percent loan to value products and points include the origination fee.

Mortgage origination activity continues to be lively. Applications were up 1.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before and 11.9 when figures are unadjusted. Activity was 12.0 percent higher than in the same week in 2004. Refinance applications represented 45.6 percent of total applications, nearly three percent more than in the previous survey (42.9 percent) and ARMS continued to represent a sizeable portion of applications - 29.8 percent compared to 28.2 percent the previous week.

The continuing good news for consumers, particularly those people who are hoping to enter the housing market, is that, in spite of increases that have taken rates over 6 percent at times both this year and last, rates are presently little changed from the first week of 2005 or from the low points in 2004. At the beginning of this year Freddie Mac reported the 30-year at 5.77 percent, the 15-year at 5.21 and the 5/1 and 1-year arm at 5.03 and 4.10 percent respectively. Thus the 30-year is actually3 basis point less than it was the first week of last January. The two adjustable rates products were up, but neither by more than three dozen basis points.

The MBA reported similar numbers. All three of the products it tracks are up from the first of the year, but the fixed rate loans each increased by only 26 basis points while the 1-year ARM did bump up from 4.17 percent to its present levels, but remains well under five percent and lender discounts on the initial rate continue to make the product popular to borrowers.