30-year fixed-rate mortgages were up slightly two weeks ago, but they dropped in last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, hitting their lowest levels since May 23, 2013.
The report shows that 30-year FRMs, which were at 3.66 percent two weeks ago, ticked down by seven basis points to 3.59 percent in the week ended February 5, 2015. This is almost three-fourths of a percentage point lower than the year-ago average of 4.32 percent. 15-year FRMs, which were at 2.98 percent two weeks ago, lost six basis points and finished last week at 2.92 percent. Last year, 15-year fixed mortgages were close to half a percentage point higher at 3.40 percent.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also moved down, edging from 2.86 percent to 2.82 percent, and finishing 30 basis points below last year’s 3.12 percent average. Lastly, one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs edged up a basis point from 2.38 percent to 2.39 percent. One year ago, the one-year ARM averaged 2.55 percent.
Freddie Mac deputy chief economist Leonard Kiefer attributed last week’s decline in rates to less than impressive statistics for the U.S. economy and its housing market. “Mortgage rates fell this week following the release of weaker than expected pending home sales, which fell 3.7 percent in December,” said Kiefer. “Moreover, real GDP growth for the fourth quarter was 2.6 percent, and the Institute for Supply Management reported slower growth in manufacturing last month, both missing market consensus forecasts.”
On a similar note, Bankrate also reported fixed mortgage rates moving on a downward path, as 30-year fixed-rate mortgages ending the week at 3.80 percent. That is five basis points lower than the previous week’s 3.85 percent, and 63 basis points lower than the year-ago average of 4.43 percent. 30-year FRMs have averaged 4.23 percent over the past 52 weeks on Bankrate’s records. Likewise, 30-year FRMs reached a 21-month low, as the lowest since then was the 3.74 percent average recorded for the week of May 22, 2013. 15-year FRMs retreated by one basis point to 3.13 percent from 3.12 percent, 5/1 ARMs were at 3.20 percent, up one basis point from 3.19 percent, while 30-year jumbo mortgages held steady at 4.02 percent.
What was interesting to note was how mortgage rates have been quite volatile, despite the ostensible lack of movement on Freddie Mac and Bankrate’s surveys. “We’ve seen rates get a little bouncy this week,” said Northern Mortgage Services CEO Pava Leyrer in quotes published by Bankrate. “They have been all over the place. But they are great and people want to take advantage of where rates are.” Her Michigan-based company has also been getting additional attention from potential home buyers and refinancers.
Speaking of refinances, Americana Mortgage Group president Robert Moulton told Bankrate that consumers appear to be taking advantage of the low rates these days. “We have a whole new little refinance rally hitting,” he observed. “Treasuries dropped from 2.17 (percent) in December to (1.82) percent now. Anything under 2 percent is great for rates. It’s a nice surprise.”