Jobless Claims Rise, Mortgage Rates Fall
Rising jobless claims are reducing consumer spending, tightening credit requirements and leading the trend of lower mortgage rates, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac (FRE). The weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey released for the week ending Nov. 6 showed lowered mortgage rates across the board. “Mortgage rates fell this week amid new indications of a pullback in consumer spending and a weaker jobs market,” said Freddie vice president Frank Nothaft. “The economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the third quarter, led by the first decline in consumer spending since the fourth quarter of 1991.” Weak market conditions paved the way for downward trends that appeared in the nation-wide mortgage rate averages. The rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) averaged 6.2 percent the week ending Nov. 6, down from last week's 6.46 percent average. The average rate for a 15-year FRM came in at 5.88 percent, down from last week's 6.19 percent. Both the 30- and 15-year FRMs showed a slight decrease from last year's average rates of 6.24 percent and 5.89 percent, respectively. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.19 percent for the week, down from 6.36 percent the week prior; they showed an increase over the previous-year week's 5.89 percent average rate. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.25 percent, down from last week's 5.38 percent. Financial information aggregator Bankrate Inc. released its weekly mortgage rates findings, which uniformly agreed with Freddie's downward trends. Bankrate.com reported a 33-basis-point plunge - with a basis point measurement of one-hundredth of a percentage point - in the average 30-year FRM rate, to 6.44 percent in the week ending Nov. 5. The average 15-year FRM rate slid 25 basis points to 6.21 percent, according to Bankrate's data. "Volatility remains the name of the game for mortgage rates," said Bankrate's Chris Kissell in the weekly mortgage rate roundup. "Since Oct. 1, mortgage rates have moved at least 20 basis points each week. During that time, they've remained in a pattern of falling sharply one week before rising dramatically the next." The "volatility" present in mortgage rates reflects a volatile housing market and a weakened economy, with increased jobless claims and decreased consumer spending. The U.S. Labor Department has reported jobless claims at a 25-year high, according to a MarketWatch report Thursday. Consumer Reports and the Commerce Department released statements in late October confirming American consumers are facing tough finances and cut spending by 0.3 percent in September. The Federal Reserve reported Monday that 70 percent of banks tightened lending standards and 90 percent of banks tightened requirements on nontraditional mortgages, practices that will likely lead to reduced borrowing. Visit www.freddiemac.com and www.bankrate.com for more information. Write to Diana Golobay at email@example.com.