Mortgage interest rates becalmed this week

Sandy Smith's picture

The mortgage market is coming to resemble the stock market in its swings: Home loan interest rates swoon, then surge. This week, however, the bank mortgage rates took a breather.

Fixed-rate mortgage interest rates barely budged this week on the national weekly survey and the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. On the weekly survey, the benchmark interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 1 basis point to 4.38%, while the benchmark 15-year fixed mortgage rate fell 1 point to 3.58%. Mortgage rates behaved similarly on the PMMS, where the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell 1 point to 4.11% and the average 15-year rate rose 1 point to 3.38%. Discount and origination fee points averaged 0.38 for the loans surveyed by Bankrate and 0.8 for those in the Freddie Mac survey.

Adjustable-rate mortgages were just a bit more volatile. On the survey, the benchmark 5-year ARM rate fell 2 points to 3.24%. On the PMMS, the 5-year rate dropped 5 points to 3.01% with 0.6 point and the 1-year ARM rate rose 4 points to 2.94% with 0.6 point.

Continued uncertainty over the fate of the euro zone's debt-ridden member countries is helping to drive the volatility both on Wall Street and at the mortgage company. As noted in its analysis of this week's rate movements, as long as sizable doubt about the fate of the proposed euro bailout remains, investors will continue to pour money into U.S. Treasury bonds, helping keep interest rates on this side of the Atlantic low. A successful resolution of the issue will reduce that impulse and likely send U.S. interest rates higher.

Another factor that might boost mortgage interest rates going forward is the proposed expansion of the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program. Should it become reality, mortgage lenders are likely to boost interest rates in order to slow down a flood of new refinance applications. Right now, however, mortgage applications, like mortgage rates, are also taking a breather. The Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Oct. 14 showed application volume falling 14.9% from the previous week on a seasonally adjusted basis. Both purchase loan and refinance applications fell, with refis falling further: new purchase loan application volume fell by a seasonally adjusted 8.8% and refinance applications fell 16.6%.

Lenders surveyed for's weekly Mortgage Rate Trend Index expect the calm to extend into next week. A majority of those polled - 53% - said rates would remain essentially unchanged (moving 2 or fewer basis points either way) in the week ahead. The percentages of those predicting larger movements were almost evenly split, with 27% predicting a fall and 20% predicting a rise.

Today's mortgage rates barely move on Bankrate, fall on Zillow

The somewhat schizoid nature of the mortgage rate market is also reflected in the day-to-day movements on the overnight surveys, where rates essentially held steady on but fell on The week-to-week trends on the overnight surveys, however, are solidly downward, with the only difference being the angle of descent.

This morning's average mortgage rates on the overnight survey, with changes from yesterday and one week ago, are: 30-year fixed, 4.18% (+1 point, +1 point); 15-year fixed, 3.47% (+2 points, unchanged); 5-year ARM, 3.03% (unchanged, -3 points). Yesterday's average rate for a 30-year fixed refinance loan, with changes from Wednesday and the previous Thursday, was 4.27% (-2 points, -2 points).

Yesterday's average afternoon mortgage rates on the National Mortgage Marketplace, with changes from Tuesday and one week ago, are: 30-year fixed, 3.95% (-4 points, -7 points); 15-year fixed, 3.3% (-4 points, -10 points); 5-year ARM, 2.8% (-5 points, -10 points). Today's real-time rates as of 8 a.m., with changes from Wednesday morning and yesterday afternoon, are: 30-year fixed, 3.95% (unchanged, +1 point); 15-year fixed, 3.28% (-2 points, -3 points); 5-year ARM, 2.75% (-5 points, -5 points).

One basis point equals one hundredth of a percentage point. Rates reported in this article assume good credit (FICO score of 650 or higher) and a 20% down payment. Morning rates from are for loans for the most creditworthy borrowers (FICO score of 720 or higher). One discount point represents one percent of the total value of a mortgage, paid as interest up front.


Submitted by Euro Trading (not verified) on
Bank mortgage rates should further come down to spur the economic growth. May be the Fed should consider buying more mortgage-backed securities.

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