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Tidal Wave Hits U.S.

Tidal Wave Hits U.S.30-year likely to hover below 6%

March 14, 2003


There appears to be no end in sight for the record mortgage rates and soaring applications that have fallen into the collective lap of U.S. mortgage originators. The biggest refinance wave in history just got bigger.Mortgage rates fell to their lowest level since at least the early sixties, with the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage coming in at 5.61%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey. The 30-year is six basis points (BPS) lower than last week, and the lowest its been since Freddie began tracking it.

Freddie economist Amy Crews Cutts expects fixed-rates to stay around 5.7 percent in the near term. “The high volatility in interest rates is likely to remain for a while,” she said. “But since there are no upward pressures at the moment any sustained rise in rates is highly unlikely.”

The majority of participants in’s weekly survey, which includes mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other industry experts, also expect rates to hover at their current level for the next few weeks.

The average 15-year fixed rate was down eight BPS from the prior week to 4.93%, according to Freddie, and the average one-year Treasury-based adjustable rate mortgage also fell eight BPS to 3.68%.

Fueled by record low interest rates, the refinance index jumped 35% to 8920.9, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America’s (MBAs) weekly survey of mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. This level of activity was inconceivable before September 11.

MBA reported that purchase applications barely edged down from the prior week, but overall applications were up 27% to a record index of 1603.1.

The 10-year Treasury yield, which had fallen to 3.59% yesterday, was up 16 BPS to 3.75% late Thursday. The price was down $1.375 to $101. The 44 year low for the 10-year is 3.57%, according to The New York Times.

Sam Garcia has been in mortgage lending since 1980, and is publisher of He also owns and operates, a real estate portal site.


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