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Rates, Business Improve

Average 30-year 4.77%

Jan. 10, 2011

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

Mortgage rates fell last week, as interest increased in home-loan refinances. For the time being, consumers were focused on refinances.

At 4.77 percent, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was down from the previous week in Freddie Mac's survey of 125 mortgage lenders for the week ended Thursday. The 30-year was 5.09 percent during the same week last year.

Interest rates on jumbo mortgages -- those higher than $417,000 -- compared to rates on conforming loans improved this past week based on the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index report for the week ended Wednesday.

An analysis of movement in the yield of the benchmark 10-year Treasury indicates rates might not be much different in this week's reports.

Exactly half of the panelists surveyed by for the week Jan. 6 to Jan. 12 predicted that mortgage rates will increase over the next week. Less than a third saw no changes ahead, and 19 percent projected a decline.

"Barring a new economic crisis of widespread proportions, it's increasingly unlikely that we will challenge the 56-plus-year lows for mortgage rates seen in 2010," HSH said in its Eight Most Important Factors for 2011's Mortgage Market. "Borrowers will again have to become accustomed to rates in the low- and mid-five-percent range for 30-year fixed rates."

Freddie reported the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.13 percent, better than the prior week.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM was lower at 3.24 percent. In the same week during 2010, the one-year was 4.31 percent.

The Mortgage Market Index climbed to 184 for the week ended Wednesday from 140 during the holiday week seven days earlier. The activity indicates that more borrowers were out shopping interest rates. The index stood at 182 a year earlier.

Driving this week's increase in consumer activity were refinances, which accounted for 51 percent of activity in the report versus 46 percent last week.

The average U.S. loan amount in the Mortech-Mortgage Daily report rose to $203,918 from the prior week's $197,992. Hawaii's $310,987 average was highest this week, and South Dakota's $141,447 was lowest.

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