Mortgage Rates Remain Unchanged Amid Economic Uncertainty
Freddie Mac's most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) for the week ending Sept. 22, shows fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) changing very little, amid sluggish economic, mixed housing data, and ongoing concerns over the European debt markets. The 30-year FRM remained unchanged at 4.09 percent, with an average 0.7 point matching last week when it also averaged 4.09 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.37 percent. The 15-year FRM dropped a single basis point to 3.29 percent, with an average 0.6 point, marking a new record low. Last week, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.30 percent, while a year ago at this time, it averaged 3.82 percent. "A sluggish economy and investor concerns over the European debt markets left mortgage rates largely unchanged this week," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. "Manufacturing activity in both the New York and Philadelphia regions contracted in September. Moreover, the Federal Reserve Board reported that households lost nearly $150 billion in net worth in the second quarter, representing the first quarterly decline in a year." The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.02 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 3.54 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.82 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.81 percent. The one-year ARM averaged 3.46 percent at this time last year. "Meanwhile, recent data on the housing market were mixed," said Nothaft. "The Census Bureau reported that new housing construction dipped five percent in August to an annual pace of 571,000 homes, and homebuilder confidence remained near record lows for September according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Existing home sales, however, rose to 5.03 million homes in August, which represented the strongest annualized rate since March of this year."