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Mortgage Rates Inch Higher, Could Climb More

Mortgage rates moved slightly higher this past week, and there is a good chance they could continue climbing over the next week.

In its Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended April 30, Freddie Mac reported the average 30-year fixed rate at 3.68 percent.

Thirty-year rates were little changed from the week ended April 23, when the average was 3.65 percent. But there has been substantial improvement from the same week in 2014, when the average was 4.29 percent.

Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer explained that economic news was mixed this past week.

“However, the National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index rose 1.1 percent in March for the third consecutive month,” Kiefer said in the report. “The S&P/Case-Shiller National House Price Index also rose 5.0 percent in February on a yearly basis.”

MBSQuoteline Director Joe Farr noted in a written statement that mortgage rates have climbed even more since Freddie conducted its survey.

Freddie’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, reported that conforming 30-year fixed rates averaged 3.95 percent in March, up 4 BPS from February.

Mortgage Daily’s analysis of Treasury market activity suggests that fixed rates could be in the neighborhood of five BPS higher in next week’s survey.

Half of panelists surveyed by Bankrate.com for the week April 30 to May 6 predicted that rates will decline at least three BPS over the next week. Another 30 percent expected an increase, and a fifth forecasted no change ahead.

In the U.S. Mortgage Market Index report from LoanSifter/Optimal Blue and Mortgage Daily for the week ended April 24, jumbo mortgage rates were 18 basis points higher than conforming rates. The jumbo-conforming spread was fatter than 16 BPS a week earlier.

Fifteen-year fixed rates averaged 2.94 percent in Freddie’s survey, 2 BPS worse than in the previous report.
The spread between 15- and 30-year rates was 74 BPS, widening from 73 BPS in the last report.

Freddie reported that five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.85 percent, 1 basis point more than a week earlier.

At 2.49 percent, average one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs
were 5 BPS worse than seven days prior. One-year ARMs were also higher than 2.45 percent in the week ended May 1, 2014.

One-year ARMs adjust based on the yield of the one-year Treasury note, which closed Thursday at 0.24 percent, the same as one week prior, according to Departement of the Treasury data.

A less-utilized ARM index, the six-month London Interbank Offered Rate — or LIBOR — was 0.41 percent as of Wednesday, the same as the previous Wednesday, Bankrate.com reported.

ARM share climbed to 9.7 percent in the latest Mortgage Market Index report from 9.4 percent in the prior report.

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