Mortgage refinance rates turned in mixed result based on amidst various reports on inflation and housing construction, based on figures released by Freddie Mac. The benchmark 30-year fixed rate product rose to a six week high at 3.37% compared to a rate of 3.32 percent a week ago and a year-over-year rate of 3.91 percent. Overall, the 3.37 percent rate still calculates lower than the average rate of 3.5 percent, which covers the past 13 weeks.
The 15-year fixed rate decreased from 2.66 percent to 2.65 percent the prior week. The rate for hybrid adjustable-rate-mortgage (ARMs) was 2.71 percent for the five-year ARM-- up from 2.7 percent. The one-year ARM dropped to 2.52 percent, down from 2.53 percent the previous week.
Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank E. Nothaft points to the “mixed” numbers regarding mortgage interest rates on the heel of good news about inflation and the strength of the home construction industry. Nothaft says the 12-month core inflation number has stayed between 1.9 percent and 2.1 percent for five-straight months ending in November. In addition, housing starts reflect the strongest three months of activities, as per November’s, since April in 2008.
The component of the index that measures all mortgage loan application volume, the Market Composite Index, decreased 12.3 percent compared to last week. The Refinance Index, which gauges the volume of loan applications for mortgage refinances, dropped to its lowest level since the week ending November 2, 2012—falling 14 percent. The Purchase Index, the measurement of application for consumers buying homes, fell 5 percent from the prior week but registered a 9 percent higher gain year-over-year.
The Mortgage Bankers’ Association vice president of research and economics Mike Fratantoni said that despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement of its intention to continue buying mortgage bonds, interest rates increased. The refinance share of mortgage activity also dropped to 83 percent of total applications from 84 percent the prior week.
Loan applications for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) declined to 25 percent of mortgage refinance activities. ARM applications felled to 3 percent of the total mortgage application volume.
Mortgage Application Numbers
The numbers for mortgage application activities come from a weekly survey of lenders across the nation. The survey asks mortgage lenders about the interest rates they offer to customers who have solid credit histories and put at least 20 percent down payment on the purchase of a new or existing home. Home owners who are refinancing must have a minimum of 20 percent equity in their homes. For these purchase or mortgage refinance loans included in the survey, lenders must charge a minimal of fee and discount points.
Borrowers are encouraged to shop around for better interest rates and fees than the number presented in the weekly survey. Borrowers who are willing to pay higher points for their mortgage may get lower interest rate. The survey does not take into account appraisal, title insurance, and other third-party cost incurred by borrowers.