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Rates Holding Steady

Rates Holding Steady

Applications ease

February 10, 2003


Even with America practically marching toward war with Iraq, mortgage rates only barely budged this week. But that’s not all bad, because the one-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is still a the record low.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.88% for the week ending Feb. 7, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly rates survey. This is a small scoot from the 5.90% last week, but still a whole point lower than last year’s 6.88%.

Nationally, the 30-year was again highest in the North Central states at 5.96% and lowest in the West at 5.82%.

The average 15-year this week is 5.27%, also barely unchanged from last week’s average. The 15-year came in at 6.36% during the same time last year. The ARM averaged 3.89%, the same record low as last week and better than last year’s 5.04%.

“Mortgage rates are in a holding pattern right now as the country tries to smooth out the knots in the economy,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie. “Low rates are a real boost to an already thriving housing market. Not only did we see record home sales and the national homeownership rate peak to an all-time high of 68.3% last year, but 2003 is shaping up to be equally as strong.”

Mortgage applications slowed a bit last week, but they’re still flying off the shelf.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America’s (MBA) seasonally-adjusted survey, which runs a week behind Freddie’s rate survey, applications came in at 1141.4 the week ending Jan. 31. That’s a 2.5% decrease from the previous week, but still an impressive increase from last year’s 567.3.

Refinancing activity represented 73.1% of total applications last week, compared with 75.4% the previous week and 49.4% last year at this time.

“Over the last few months, the number of mortgage applications for home purchase has averaged at near record levels, according to the [MBA], which suggests no immediate slowdown in housing anytime soon,” Freddie’s Nothaft said.

The mortgage experts on’s weekly poll revealed their feelings on where rates are headed over the next 30 to 45 days: only 6% said rates will go up, 53% said rates will decrease, and 41% said rates will remain unchanged, within 2 bps.

Jack Harris of Real Estate Center at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, said to that the stock market will take a break until something happens in Iraq.

“This means more money flowing into the bond markets and continuation of low rates for a while,” said Harris, who voted that rates will remain unchanged.

At Friday’s close, the 10-year Treasury note’s yield increased to 3.96% from yesterday’s close, with the price decreasing to 100 9/32.

Christy Robinson is the editor of She received a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from The University of Texas at Arlington. Her work has previously been published in The Dallas Morning News.

email Christy at:

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