Thursday, January 04, 2007

WEEKLY MORTGAGE RATES START YEAR MIXED

Various economic rates start year mixed

Mortgage rates posted mixed results this week on news of improvement in manufacturing and home sales and a disappointing employment report, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac's survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at an average 6.18 percent, while the 15-year fixed-rate average inched up to 5.94 percent from last week's 5.93 percent. Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 6.02 percent this week, with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.98 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.42 percent, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.47 percent.

"Interest rates were flat this past week, reflecting the mixed messages from recent economic indicators," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. "The recently released manufacturing report showed an improvement, and while construction spending for November was down, it was still better than expected. On the other hand, a private sector employment report suggested that the labor market was weaker than anticipated. As a result, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates started off the year at about the same level as this time last year."

Nothaft said the market may get a "clearer signal" of where the economy is heading after the U.S. Department of Labor releases its jobs report on Friday.

In Bankrate.com's survey, mortgage rates moved slightly higher on a week highlighted by better-than-anticipated home sales figures. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now 6.24 percent, the highest since Nov. 15, with an average of 0.27 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing increased to 5.99 percent, and the same was true for larger loans, with the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate up modestly to 6.47 percent, Bankrate.com reported. The average 5/1 ARM climbed to 6.15 percent and the average one-year ARM edged up to 5.94 percent.

Bankrate.com said movements in mortgage rates were subtle during the holiday season, with little in the way of economic data or market volatility to push rates one way or the other. The most significant news came in the form of better home sales figures for November, which pushed bond yields and mortgage rates higher on the belief that the Federal Reserve would be unlikely to cut interest rates any time soon.

The following is a sampling of Bankrate.com's average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas:

New York - 6.18 percent with 0.05 point

Los Angeles - 6.29 percent with 0.39 point

Chicago - 6.41 percent with 0.04 point

San Francisco - 6.22 percent with 0.41 point

Philadelphia - 6.19 percent with 0.3 point

Detroit - 6.29 percent with no points

Boston - 6.27 percent with 0.04 point

Houston - 6.25 percent with 0.48 point

Dallas - 6.2 percent with 0.43 point

Washington, D.C. - 6.09 percent with 0.53 point

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Thursday, January 04, 2007
Inman News

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