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Refis Retreat as Rising Rates Headed Higher

Rates

Fixed-mortgage rates rose this week and are likely to be higher in next week’s reports. Refinances drove a small decline in prospective borrower activity.

Increasing 2 basis points from last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.23 percent in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended Thursday. The 30-year was 5.03 percent during the same week last year.

Freddie’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, reported that the 30-year averaged 4.58 percent last month, 12 BPS better than August.

The spread between the jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the conventional 30-year was 90 BPS in the Mortgage Market Index report from Mortech Inc. and Mortgage Daily for the week ended Wednesday. The spread was about the same last week.

Mortgage rates will be higher in next week’s reports based on the 10-year Treasury yield, which closed at 2.69 percent today based on data reported by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The 10-year yielded 2.57 percent last Thursday.

A majority — 63 percent — of the panelists surveyed by Bankrate.com for the week Oct. 28 to Nov. 3 predicted mortgage rates will increase at least 3 BPS during the next week. No change was expected by 31 percent of the panelists, and 6 percent predicted a decline.

In its Mortgage Finance Forecast, the Mortgage Bankers Association has the 30-year averaging 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter and 4.7 percent in the first three months of next year.

Like the 30-year, the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 2 BPS in Freddie’s latest survey to 3.66 percent. The FHFA said the 15-year average jumped 11 BPS from August to 4.57 percent.

Falling 4 BPS, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage was 3.41 percent in Freddie’s report.

There was no change, however, for the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM, which averaged 3.30 percent in Freddie’s survey. The one-year was 4.57 percent a year ago. The underlying one-year Treasury yield closed at 0.23 percent today compared to 0.22 percent a week ago, the Treasury reported. Another ARM index, the six-month LIBOR, was unchanged from a week earlier at 0.45 percent yesterday, Bankrate.com reported.

The share of prospective borrowers who applied for an adjustable-rate loan in MBA’s Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ended Oct. 22 fell to 5.3 percent from 5.8 percent seven days earlier. In its forecast, the trade group predicted ARM share will be unchanged between the fourth quarter and the first-quarter 2011 at 6 percent.

Mortgage activity dropped 8 percent this week based on the Mortgage Market Index. Refinances drove the decline, with refinance share cut to 60 percent from the previous week’s 62 percent. This week’s rate-term share was 46 percent, and the cashout share was 15 percent.

MBA’s outlook has ARM share falling from nearly three quarters in the third quarter to just over half in the first period of next year.

The average U.S. loan amount shrank to $212,726 from $216,844, based on the Mortgage Market Index report. The biggest average loan was in Washington, D.C.: $277,967. South Dakota’s $146,871 was lowest.

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