To use the word "drift" in conjunction with the mortgage market the past week would be suggesting too much energy in mortgage rates and in the market.

According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for last week, fixed rate mortgages (FRM) inched down a maximum of two basis points and ARMs a maximum of four.

To be specific, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.16 percent with 0.5 point compared to 6.17 with 0.5 point the previous week while the 15-year FRM had an average contract interest rate of 5.87 percent, down two basis points from last week's average of 5.89 percent. Fees and points both weeks averaged 0.5.

The five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 5.87 percent compared to 5.92 percent a week earlier but fees and points did inch up from 0.6 to 0.7. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM decreased from 5.45 percent to 5.43 percent while fees and points remained unchanged at 0.7.

"Recent economic data releases showing weaker existing home sales in March, coupled with lower consumer confidence in April, caused the market to pause and reevaluate the potential growth of the economy this year," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "This allowed all mortgage rates to decline slightly this week."

Nothaft pointed out that, "Thus far this year, mortgage rates have remained relatively stable. Interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages varied by 20 basis points, while ARM rates stayed within a range of 15 basis points. With stable rates, new home sales in March edged up by three percent from February, but the sales pace in first three months of 2007 was still 14 percent below that of fourth quarter."

According to the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association, both fixed rate products increased one basis point during the week ended April 27. The 30-year averaged 6.14 percent with points, including the origination fee, decreasing from 1.32 to 1.32 and the 15-year averaged 5.83 percent with points down to 1.25 from 1.27.

The average contract rate for one-year ARMS was unchanged at 5.79 percent with 0.73 point.

Mortgage activity was relatively flat, up only 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis and 1.4 percent unadjusted from the previous week. Compared to the same week one year ago activity was 9.4 percent higher but this figure had been running in the double digits for some time.

Refinancing as a share of all mortgage activity dropped from 43.4 percent to 41.5 and ARMs grabbed only 17.9 percent of all mortgage business compared to 18.3 percent a week earlier.

All and all, a market waiting for something to happen.