Mortgage Rates

Freddie Mac: Market volatility pushes rates higher

Don't read too much into changes

Mortgage rates ticked higher after another week of volatile market activity despite essentially no new information, the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey said.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89% for the week ending Sept.3, up from 3.84% last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.1%.

Additionally, 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.09%, up from last week when it averaged 3.06%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.24%.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 2.93% this week, up from last week when it averaged 2.90%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.97%.

1-year Treasury-indexed ARM was the only one to not change from last week and averaged 2.62%. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.4%.

"The 30-year mortgage rate increased 5 basis points, but don't read too much into that. The Fed took great pains at the Jackson Hole conference to keep all their options open and to avoid making too much–or too little–of the situation in China and the volatility in global equity markets," said Sean Becketti, chief economist with Freddie Mac.

"This Friday's employment report is the last piece of significant, solid evidence the FOMC will have to consider before their September decision. The Street appears to be calling it a coin flip. There won't be a clear direction for mortgage rates until the Fed makes its September decision, at the earliest," he added.

Last week, Black Monday put a dent in housing stocks, along with the rest of the stock market. While bond and stock market did get a brief lift after thanks to comments from New York Fed President William Dudley, the market is still volatile. Dudley told press last Wednesday that the prospect of a September rate hike "seems less compelling" than it was only weeks ago, which helped calm the market.

However he warned about overreacting to "short-term" market moves, and left the door ajar to raising rates when the U.S. central bank holds a policy meeting on Sept. 16-17.

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