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Record Low Rates Drive Increase in Business

Average 30-year fixed-rate 4.17%

Nov. 11, 2010


Fixed rates fell to record lows -- pushing new mortgage activity higher. But fixed rates might be higher in next week's reports.

Declining to a new record low, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.17 percent in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended Thursday. The 30-year was 4.24 percent a week earlier and 4.91 percent a year earlier.

Freddie's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, attributed the improvement to the Federal Reserve's third policy announcement that it will purchase up to $600 billion in government securities.

But the 30-year will likely be higher in next week's reports based on the 10-year Treasury yield. The U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that the 10-year yield closed at 2.65 percent Wednesday, down from last week by just 2 BPS versus the 7-basis-point drop in the 30-year mortgage.

The spread between fixed rates on jumbo mortgages and conforming mortgages worsened to 89 basis points this week from 84 BPS in the Mortech-Mortgage Daily Mortgage Market Index report for the week ended Wednesday.

Half of the panelists surveyed by for the week Nov. 11 to Nov. 18 predicted that mortgage rates will increase at least 3 BPS during the next week or so. A decline was forecasted by 29 percent, and no change was expected by 21 percent.

Also reaching a record-low was the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, which Freddie said fell to 3.57 percent from last week's average of 3.63 percent.

Even the five-year hybrid Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage reached a new record-low: 3.25 percent. Freddie said the five-year was 3.39 percent seven days earlier.

But there was no change from last week for the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM, which Freddie reported at 3.26 percent. The one-year averaged 4.46 percent during the same week last year. The index on the one-year, the yield on the one-year Treasury, closed at 0.24 percent Wednesday, 2 BPS higher than last Wednesday, the Treasury reported.

A different ARM index, the six-month LIBOR, was 0.45 percent this week and has been unchanged since Oct. 20, reported.

Last week, when the one-year ARM fell to its lowest level on record and the 30-year fixed rate rose, ARM share was trimmed to 5.3 percent from 5.4 percent a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended Nov. 5.

New mortgage activity rose this week, with the Mortgage Market Index increasing to 311 from last week's 288. Refinances drove the improvement, with the refinance share increasing to 61 percent this week from 60 percent. This week's share reflected a rate-term share of 46 percent and a cashout share of 15 percent.

The average U.S. loan amount in this week's Mortech-Mortgage Daily report increased to $214,267 from $212,501 last Wednesday. Alaska's $295,095 average was highest, while Nebraska's $151,977 was the smallest average.

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

[email protected]

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