Freddie Mac�s Weekly Primary Mortgage Survey for the week ended November 23 recorded the first drop in mortgage rates since September 1. 2005. Over the 13 week run-up the 30 year fixed rate mortgage increased from 5.71 percent to the 6.37 percent recorded for the week ended November 17. Last week the rate dropped to 6.28 percent, the lowest since October 27, with fees and points remaining constant at 0.6.

This follows on the heels of a reduction in rates reported last week by the Mortgage Bankers Association. MBA recorded a second straight week of rate decreases in its weekly report issued on November 30.

But first, Freddie Mac.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage also declined nine basis points to 5.81 percent with fees constant at 0.6. The 5-1 ARM declined from 5.86 percent to 5.75 percent but fees and points jumped to 0.8 from 0.6. While this is the high water mark for these fees it is the third time this year that the figure has climbed to this point.

The 1-year ARM dropped to 5.14 percent from 5.20 percent the previous week and fees rose from 0.6 to 0.7.

The Mortgage Bankers Association showed smaller decreases in their Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended November 24, but coupled with the changes recorded the previous week, are still showing most average rates at lower levels than those reported by Freddie Mac.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased six basis points to 6.20 percent, with points (including the origination fee) increasing to 1.17 from 1.11 for 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 5.72 percent from 5.83 percent, with points increasing to 1.26 from 1.12.

MBA reports figures higher than those of Freddie Mac only on the 1-year ARM and here there is a considerable discrepancy. The MBA survey shows that rate decreasing to 5.39 percent from 5.41 percent one week earlier, with points decreasing to 0.96 from 0.99. A 25 basis point difference between the two surveys must be among the highest seen in recent memory.

It was a short week and one in which Americans were not necessarily thinking about mortgages so it was not surprising the application volume was down. The decrease on a seasonally adjusted basis was 1.8 percent from the previous week and 8 percent from the same week in 2004. MBA does further adjust figures to account for the short week.

Refinancing as a share of total mortgage activity decreased again to 39.1 percent from 39.9 percent the previous week and the ARM share of the market dropped slightly from 33.2 to 33.0 percent of all applications.