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Rates, Apps Improve

Rates, Apps Improve

30-year average 6.10%

January 19, 2006


photo of Coco Salazar
Mortgage shops completed more refinance applications as long-term rates rolled to the lowest point in three months.

Refinance requests rose 10% for the second consecutive week and pushed the refinance share of total mortgage applications up to 44% in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The last time the share was that high was in October 2005.

Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average slid 5 basis points from last week to 6.10% — the lowest level since the week ending Oct. 20, 2005, according to Freddie Mac’s latest survey of 125 mortgage-lending thrift, commercial banks and companies. At this time last year, the average was 43 BPS lower.

Fannie Mae’s latest outlook has the 30-year averaging around 6.2% all year long. Freddie and the MBA predict a similar outcome for this quarter, but respectively have the average ending 2006 at 6.5% and 6.6%.

The mortgage “experts” surveyed by suggested that mortgage prospects lock their rates; only one-fifth of the panel of 100 predict that rates will fall over the next 35 to 45 days, the rest were evenly split among those who believe rates will rise and those who think they’ll stay about the same.

The average for the 15-year was reported at 5.67%, down 4 BPS from a week ago.

The 10-year Treasury, which tends to trade in tandem with fixed mortgage rates, saw its yield close today at 4.37%.

“Over the last six weeks, long-term mortgage rates have dropped nearly a quarter of a percent in the face of little or no inflationary pressures,” said Freddie chief economist Frank Nothaft in a written statement.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage average nudged down 1 BPS to 5.75% this week, according to Freddie.

The only average to reportedly rise from last week — by 3 BPS to 5.18% — was the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs. The Federal Reserve said the 1-year T-bill was 4.42% Tuesday, unchanged from a week earlier.

ARMs comprised about 31% of total applications, increasing from the 28% share reported by the MBA a week ago.

Overall application activity increased 2% from the prior week, as a 3% decline in purchase applications activity offset the previously-mentioned boost in refinance requests, MBA said.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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