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Mortgage Market Conditions Deteriorate

Mortgage Market Conditions Deteriorate

6.49% 30-year fixed rate

April 13, 2006


photo of Coco Salazar
As the 10-year Treasury sailed past 5% and mortgage rates continued increasing, fewer mortgage applications were completed.

Climbing 6 basis points from a week ago to the highest level since July 12, 2002, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.49% this week, according to Freddie Mac’s latest survey of 125 mortgage-lending thrifts, commercial banks and companies. The average is 52 BPS higher than at this time last year.

Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said mortgage rates continued to creep up due to the unexpected drop in March’s unemployment rate.

“That drop indicated there may be some upward pressure on wages in the near future, which could lead to a rise in inflation,” he explained. “And the threat of a higher rate of inflation, as we all know, invariably leads to higher mortgage rates.

“With that said, Freddie Mac’s outlook for 30-year mortgage rates for 2006 continues to expect that rates will fluctuate somewhere between 6.25 percent 6.75 percent over the course of the year.

For this quarter, however, Freddie is expecting to see an average rate of 6.4% for the 30-year and sees the average moving up to 6.5% in the last quarter of the year, according to its April forecast.

Over the next month or so, rates will remain relatively unchanged, according to half of the 100 mortgage “experts” surveyed this week. One-third of the panel predicted rates will rise over that period, and the rest foresaw a decrease.

The 15-year averaged 6.14%, reportedly up 4 BPS from last week to the highest level since mid-June 2002.

The 10-year Treasury note yielded 5.05% late Thursday, up 7 BPS for the day and worse than 4.89% at the market’s close a week earlier.

Following closely behind the 15-year, the average for 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages edged up 2 BPS to 6.13% this week, Freddie said.

With a week-to-week increase of 4 BPS, Freddie said the average for 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs came in at 5.61%. The 1-year T-bill itself, which the Federal Reserve reported at 4.88% on Tuesday, had a weekly upturn of 3 BPS.

Mortgage loan application volume decreased nearly 6% from the prior week as refinance requests diminished 7% and demand for purchase money loan applications fell 5%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s application survey for the week ending April 7.

While the refinance share of mortgage activity reportedly slipped from the previous week to 36%, the ARM share remained at 29%, MBA said. For 2006, Freddie sees the current refinance share staying put for the year and predicts ARMs will comprise 27% of total mortgage originations.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for


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