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ARM Share Up as 15-30 Year Spread Widens

Average 30-year 5.25%

July 30, 2009

By SAM GARCIA


The spread between the 15-year and the 30-year fixed rate climbed to its widest level in 16 months. Also rising was the share of adjustable-rate mortgage applications.

Edging 5 basis points above last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came in at 5.25%, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended today. Still, the 30-year sits 127 BPS below a year ago.

Freddie's regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, reported the average conforming 30-year fixed rate at 5.12% during June, up 24 BPS from May.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond closed today at 3.67%, according to data reported by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The 10-year yield closed at 3.72% a week earlier.

A stabilizing economy boosted market optimism and pushed bond yields higher, Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in the report.

But rates are headed lower according to 38 percent of the panelists surveyed by Bankrate.com for the week July 30 to Aug. 5. The rest were evenly split over whether rates would rise or stay within 2 BPS of their current level during the next 35 to 45 days.

The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.69%, 0.01% worse than last week, Freddie reported. The spread between the 15-year and the 30-year ballooned to 56 BPS this week -- the widest it has been since it stood at 60 BPS on March 20, 2008.

Also 1 basis point higher was the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM, which averaged 4.75% this week, Freddie said.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.80% in Freddie's survey, up 3 BPS. The average one-year ARM was 5.27% a year earlier.

The yield on the one-year Treasury bill, which is used as the index for the one-year ARM, closed today at 0.48%, 0.01% lower than seven days earlier.

The six-month London Interbank Offered Rate yielded 0.94% yesterday, slightly better than 0.96% a week prior. LIBOR was 3.12% a year ago.

As fixed rates have been increasing more rapidly than ARMs, the ARM application share rose to 5.5% in the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended July 24 from 4.8% the previous week.

An 11% decline in refinance applications pushed the refinance share down to 53% from 56% in MBA's prior survey. MBA's Market Composite Index sank 6% on a seasonally adjusted basis, while purchase activity was unchanged.


Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of MortgageDaily.com in 2000.

e-mail: [email protected]


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