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Mortgage Rates Set to Rise, But Volatile

Although market indicators point to higher mortgage rates, an economic report scheduled for release tomorrow could alter that outlook.

There was little change this week with 30-year fixed rates, which averaged 4.12 percent in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended July 31.

Average 30-year rates were 4.13 percent seven days earlier. In the same report from 12 months earlier, the 30 year averaged 4.39 percent.

Freddie’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, reported that conventional conforming 30-year rates averaged 4.34 percent in June, 3 BPS better than in May.

Interest rates on home loans are likely to increase approximately 7 basis points in Freddie’s next survey based on Treasury market activity.

Data from the Department of the Treasury indicate that the 10-year Treasury note yield — a barometer for fixed mortgage rates — averaged 2.51 percent during the period covered by Freddie’s survey, while it closed at 2.58 percent on Thursday.

Freddie’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, noted in the survey that the 10-year Treasury yield surged on Wednesday as gross domestic product for the second quarter came in above expectations at a 4.0 percent annualized rate.

Also impacting the 10-year yield was a statement Wednesday from the Federal Open Market Committee indicating that it would add to its agency mortgage-backed securities investments at a monthly pace of $10 billion starting next month versus the $15 billion pace in place now.

An overwhelming majority of panelists surveyed by for the week July 31 to Aug. 6 predicted mortgage rates won’t move more than 2 BPS over the next week. Just 18 percent expected an increase, and none expected a decline.

However, mortgage rates will be volatile because of Friday’s U.S. employment report. An increase of more than 250,000 jobs could push rates higher, while fewer than 200,000 jobs added might place downward pressure on yields.

The jumbo-conforming spread in the U.S. Mortgage Market Index report from LoanSifter/Optimal Blue and Mortgage Daily for the week ended July 25 was a negative 12 BPS, widening from a negative 11 BPS in the previous report.

A slightly bigger decline than reported for 30-year fixed rates was recorded for 15-year mortgages, which Freddie reported at 3.23 percent versus 3.26 percent in the week ended July 24. As a result, the spread between 15- and 30-year mortgages widened to 89 BPS from 87 BPS in the previous report.

Freddie’s survey indicated that a 2-basis-point increase occurred for five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid, adjustable-rate mortgages, which averaged 3.01 percent in the latest report.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs slipped a single basis point from seven days prior to 2.38 percent and were 26 BPS better than in Freddie’s survey for the week ended Aug. 1, 2013.

The index utilized for one-year ARMs, the yield on the one-year Treasury note, rose to 0.12 percent today from 0.11 percent last Thursday, the Treasury Department reported.

The six-month London Interbank Offered Rate, which is used as an index for some ARMs, was 0.33 percent as of Wednesday, the same as one week earlier.

ARM share in the most recent Mortgage Market Index report fell to 10.8 percent from 11.2 percent in the previous report.

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