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Lower Survey Rates Continue to Defy Forecasts for Gradual Increases

JAN 23, 2014 10:59am ET
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The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped two basis points in Freddie Mac's latest weekly survey, leaving it slightly less than 1% higher than a year ago.

The 30-year rate clocked in at 4.39% during the week ending Jan. 23.

The 15-year rate fell by one basis point to 3.44%. This rate is 73 basis points above where it was one year ago.

Fixed mortgage rate declines in the previous week's survey were more pronounced, and the latest Mortgage Bankers Association applications survey showed apps were higher last week. The next MBA survey on Wednesday will show how applications responded to rate activity this week.

When federal officials make moves designed to lower or raise rates that the market anticipates, often rates will move the opposite direction at the start of the program. This generally reflects the market over-estimating the effect of the move in its pricing and then recalibrating it for the actual program's effect.

While longer-term mortgage rates that dominate the market are down slightly on average this week, shorter-term rates have a more mixed response to market conditions.

The average rate for a five-year Treasury hybrid this week is up five basis points at 3.15%. It is 48 basis points higher than a year ago.

The average rate for a one-year Treasury adjustable-rate mortgage dropped two basis points to 2.54%. This rate is just three basis points lower than one year ago.

Average points are lowest for one-year Treasury ARMs and five-year Treasury hybrids at half of a point, compared to 0.7 of a point for FRMs.

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