Thursday, September 27, 2007

U.S. Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rates Rise for Third Week

by Amy Lillard

Fixed-rate mortgage rates rose slightly in the week ending September 27, 2007, according to finance company Freddie Mac. Their weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey® was released Thursday.

"Consistent with the direction of 10-year Treasury securities, average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages drifted up in the past week to levels close to those at the beginning of the month," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
This week's survey indicates 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 6.42 percent, a gain from last week's average of 6.34 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.31 percent.

Fixed mortgage rates for 15-year terms averaged 6.09 percent, an increase from last week's average of 5.98. A year ago, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.98 percent.

Averages for Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) trended downward this week. Five-year ARMs averaged 6.15 percent, a dip from last week's average of 6.21 percent. At this time last year, the five-year ARM averaged 6.00 percent.

One-year ARMs averaged 5.60 percent this week, down from last week's average of 5.65 percent. Last year, the one-year ARM averaged 5.47 percent.

Freddie Mac said that to obtain these rates lenders charged varied point fees. For fixed-rate mortgages, lenders charged an average 0.5-point fee. For ARMs, lenders charged a 0.5-point fee for five-year terms and a 0.6-point fee for one-year terms.

"Also tracking short-term Treasury notes, average rates on 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) dropped by 5-hundredth of a percent," said Nothaft. "Though it is the fourth consecutive week rates on ARMs have declined, the share of mortgage applications for ARMs has been trending down, and last week reached its lowest level since March 2003, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.Additionally, existing home sales continued to decline in August to the slowest pace in 5 years to a seasonally adjusted 5.5 million units. Sales of single-family homes slowed in every census region, with the highest impact felt in the Western region."

Freddie Mac is a mortgage finance company established by Congress in 1970. The company buys mortgages and mortgage-related securities and packages them to sell to investors or to hold in its own portfolio. They release their summary of average mortgage rates weekly.

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