Mortgage rates dipped again, even if by only a few basis points, for the week ended January 12, 2006 (Freddie Mac) and January 13 (Mortgage Bankers Association.)

The Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey published by Freddie Mac reported an average rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of 6.15 with fees and points of 0.6. This is compared to averages for the first week of the New Year of 6.21 percent and 0.5 for fees and points.

The 15-year fixed rate decreased five basis points to 5.71 percent. Like the 30-year, fees and points were up slightly from 0.5 to 0.6.

Adjustable rate mortgage interest rates declined only slightly, but fees and points also decreased, probably a result of lender incentives to promote ARM products in the face of a flattening or even inverting rate curve. The 5/1 ARM declined a scant two basis points to 5.76 percent but fees and points dropped from 0.7 to 0.5 on average. The 1-year ARM decreased from 5.16 to 5.15 percent and from 0.7 to 0.6 for fees.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's survey reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to an average of 6.07 percent from 6.08 the previous week. Points, including the origination fee, were unchanged at 1.28 for 80 percent loan to value originations.

Fixed-rate 15-year loans dropped to 5.64 percent from 5.66 the week before with points moving in the opposite direction; from 1.17 to 1.23.

The one-year ARM was down three basis points to 5.39 with points unchanged at 0.92.

On a seasonally adjusted basis mortgage activity was up slightly - 2.2 percent from the previous week, but on an unadjusted basis took a big jump; up 31.4 percent. Compared week-over-week to 2005, however, activity decreased 10.9 percent.

Refinancing continues to be a strong factor in mortgage activity. Last week refinancing represented 44.0 percent of total loan applications compared to 42.2 percent a week earlier. ARMS recovered a bit as well. Applications for various adjustable rate loans represented 30.6 percent of all mortgage activity compared to 28.1 percent the first week of the year.