Fixed Rates Stumble Over Recent Reports

Fixed Rates Stumble Over Recent Reports

04/04/2013 BY: TORY BARRINGER

Fixed mortgage rates took a tumble this week following the release of “lukewarm” economic data.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.54 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending April 4, down from 3.57 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.74 percent (0.7 point), down from 2.76 percent in the last survey.

Adjustable rates moved in mixed directions. The 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.65 percent (0.5 point) this week, a drop from 2.68 percent.

Meanwhile, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.63 percent (0.4 point), up from 2.62 percent.

Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac, explained the drop in fixed rates is the result of slowdown in the manufacturing industry.

“Regionally, both the Chicago and Milwaukee purchasing manager reports for March fell below the market consensus forecast. On a national scale, both the ISM[Institute for Supply Management] manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes also showed reductions in growth,” Nothaft said.

Bankrate.com also observed declines in its weekly national survey. The 30-year FRM averaged 3.73 percent (down from 3.75 percent), while the 15-year fixed averaged 2.95 percent (from 2.97 percent before).

The 5/1 ARM rose just a bit, averaging 2.72 percent—an increase of 1 basis point.

“Following the events in Cyprus and now some uninspiring economic data here in the U.S., mortgage rates have pulled back for three consecutive weeks to the lowest levels in a month,” Bankrate said in a release. “But jobs are the next likely catalyst for mortgage rates, as the monthly jobs report supplants all other economic data in taking the temperature of the economy, particularly with the Fed specifically citing the unemployment rate as a key marker in their monetary policy.”

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