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Little Change in Mortgage Rates Likely to Continue

30-year fixed rates average 3.97%

Nov. 19, 2015

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily



portrait of Sam Garcia

Fixed interest rates on residential loans hardly changed this past week, and the same can be expected over the coming week.

A single-basis-point decrease from last week left fixed rates on 30-year loans averaging 3.97 percent in the week ended Nov. 19.

That was according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey published Thursday by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Thirty-year fixed rates were also little changed compared to the same week during 2014, when they averaged 3.99 percent.

"The FOMC minutes were couched in careful Fed-speak, and early market reaction was mixed, with most analysts reading their own expectations into the minutes," Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti said in the survey.

Joe Farr, director at MBSQuoteline, noted in a written statement that mortgage rates haven't changed much since Freddie conducted its survey.

Thirty-year fixed rates averaged 4.246 percent on loans closed during October, according to Ellie Mae Inc.'s Origination Insight Report. The average was down from 4.280 percent in September.

But on just conventional loans, 30-year rates averaged 4.311 percent last month. The average was 4.203 percent on mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration and 4.064 percent on loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Little change is likely over the next week for fixed mortgage rates based on Mortgage Daily's analysis of Treasury market activity.

A plurality of panelists surveyed by Bankrate.com for the week Nov. 19 to Nov. 25 agreed with Mortgage Daily's forecast that mortgage rates won't change much over the next seven days. But 39 percent predicted rates will increase at least three BPS, and just 15 percent projected a decline.

Fannie Mae said in its Housing Forecast: November 2015 that it expects 30-year rates to average 3.8 percent in the current quarter, 3.9 percent in the first-quarter 2016 and 4.0 percent during the following three-month period.

In the U.S. Mortgage Market Index report from OpenClose and Mortgage Daily for the week ended Nov. 13, interest rates on jumbo mortgages were 11 BPS less than on conforming loans. The jumbo-conforming spread thinned from a negative 15 BPS one week earlier.

Freddie's survey indicated that 15-year fixed rates averaged 3.18 percent, two BPS better than in the week ended Nov. 12. Fifteen-year rates were 79 BPS less than 30-year rates, widening from a 78-basis-point spread seven days earlier.

Ellie reported that 15-year loans accounted for 10.3 percent of all loans closed last month, the same as in September.

Five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.98 percent, according to Freddie, five BPS less than in the last report.

Fannie predicted that hybrid ARMs will go from 2.9 percent in the fourth-quarter 2015 to 3.0 percent three months later and 3.2 percent in the second-quarter 2016.

At 2.64 percent, one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged a basis point less than a week ago, Freddie reported. But one-year ARM rates were up 20 BPS from the week ended Nov. 20, 2014.

One-year ARMs will average 2.6 percent during the final three months of this year then rise 10 BPS each quarter of next year based on Fannie's outlook.

The yield on the one-year Treasury note, which dictates rate changes on one-year ARMs, closed Thursday at 0.49 percent, two BPS less than seven days previous, according to Treasury Department data.

A different, less-utilized ARM index -- the six-month London Interbank Offered Rate -- was 0.60 percent as of Wednesday, Bankrate.com reported. LIBOR landed at 0.59 percent one week prior.

Ellie's report indicated that ARM share on closed loans inched up to 5.4 percent last month from 5.3 percent in September.

More recently, the latest Mortgage Market Index report had ARM share of rate locks at 16.4 percent, widening significantly from 11.5 percent the previous week.


Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Before that, he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

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