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Rates Higher, Apps Lower

Rates Higher, Apps LowerAverage 30-year 6.46%

October 30, 2008


Mortgage rates continued their roller coaster ride, dragging applications with them.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.46% in Freddie Mac’s survey of thrifts, commercial banks and mortgage lending companies for the week ending Oct. 30. The 30-year soared 42 basis points from the prior week and was higher than 6.26% a year earlier.

The 30-year has see-sawed recently, rising 0.42% this week after falling 0.42% last week and jumping 0.52% the week before.

The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was up 47 BPS from last week to 6.19%, Freddie said.

Freddie’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, explained that the Federal Open Market Committee’s half point cut in the discount rate yesterday was widely anticipated and primarily impacted short-term rates. He noted long-term rates moved higher with the 10-year Treasury yield — which climbed from 3.57% a week ago to 3.91% early today, according to data reported by CNNMoney.

In its announcement, the fed highlighted the rapidly slowing pace of domestic economic activity, intensified financial markets turmoil and a decline in global economic activity. In addition, inflation has become less of a concern with weakening energy and commodities prices.

Rates are headed higher, according to 46 of the 100 panelists surveyed by for the week Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. But rates will decline by at least 3 BPS during the next 35 to 45 days according to 38 of the panelists, while the rest forecasted no change.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 6.36% in Freddie’s survey, up 0.30% from the previous week. The one-year Treasury ARM averaged 5.38%, just 15 BPS higher than seven days earlier.

The underlying one-year index, the one-year Treasury yield, was 1.41% yesterday — 23 BPS better than a week earlier, according to data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The yield on the London Interbank Offered Rate, which is used as an index on many subprime ARMs, was 3.48% yesterday. Last week, LIBOR stood at 3.70%.

Reflecting last week’s big increase in the 1-year ARM — 50 BPS — the ARM share of loan applications in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Oct. 24 dropped to 2% from 3% the prior week.

MBA said overall 1003 applications jumped 17 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in its latest survey, pushing the Market Composite Index to 476.7. With fixed-rates jumping this week, the next MBA report is likely to reflect a big decline in applications.

Refinance applications, which soared 29 percent from the prior week, drove the overall increase. Refinances accounted for 47% of total applications, up from 43% in the previous week.

Purchase applications were 9% higher than the prior week, and government activity was up 10%, MBA reported.

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