Mortgage Rates Drop On ‘Flight to Quality’ by Investors

Freddie Mac’s weekly market survey shows that mortgage rates drifted downwards last week, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 6.68 percent with an average of 0.3 points for the week ending August 2. Last week, rates averaged 6.69, while Freddie Mac said that year-ago mortgage rates for the 30-year fixed product averaged 6.63 percent. Other rate information:

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 6.32 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.37 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.27 percent. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 6.29 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 6.30 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.27 percent. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.59 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.69 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.69 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s vice president and chief economist, said that part of the downard drift was due to the “flight to quality” stemming from concerns about the subprime mortgage market.

“Market investors seeking safety from the subprime fallout bought Treasury securities, pushing bond yields down and allowing mortgage rates to drift a bit lower,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Sales of new and existing homes fell in June, and prices continue to weaken, especially in the markets that had recorded the strongest gains over the past few years. There are early signs, however, that the market is stabilizing. As construction spending levels off, the drag on GDP growth will continue to diminish. Meanwhile, the 5 percent rise in pending home sales in June suggests that sales in July and August may reverse last month’s decline.”

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