Despite Low Rates, Purchase Applications Reach 2000 Low
Mortgage rates hovered slightly above record lows, but as the debate on the extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit raged, borrowers stayed away from the application process last week. The average rate of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 4.91% with a 0.7 point for the week ending Nov. 12, according to Freddie Mac’s (FRE) weekly survey of mortgage rates. But the Mortgage Banker Association’s (MBA) index of home purchase mortgages decreased 11.7% in the week ending Nov. 6, compared to the week prior and was at its lowest level since December 2000. Freddie Mac’s rate was down from the previous week, when the 30-year FRM was 4.98% and one year ago, when it was 6.14%. “Mortgage rates eased further over the week, helping to promote an affordable home-purchase market and stimulate refinance,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “This comes at a time when house price declines are moderating and consumer demand for prime mortgages at commercial banks has picked up.” MBA’s index of total market activity was up 3.2%. The refinance application index increased 11.3%, making up for the decline in purchase application volume. Refinance applications took a 71.5% share of total application volume, up from 66.1% in the previous week. Bankrate.com put the average 30-year FRM rate at 5.19%, down 16bps from the previous week. Freddie Mac’s survey of 15-year FRM put the average rate at 4.36% with an average 0.6 point. Bankrate.com’s survey put the 15-year FRM at 4.61%, down 11bps. Freddie’s survey of the five-year, Treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) put the average rate at 4.29% with an average 0.6 point, down from the previous week when it was 4.35%. The one-year, Treasury-indexed ARM average 4.46% with an average 0.6 point, Freddie said. Bankrate.com put the five-year ARM at 4.58%. Write to Austin Kilgore.