Mortgage Rates Ease Slightly

Mortgage rates fell only slightly this week, the second week of an easing trend, as news of continuing economic headwinds helped push yields on Treasuries downward — and by extension, pushed mortgage rates downward, as well. According to a weekly rate survey published Thursday by Freddie Mac (FRE), 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.14 percent with 0.7 point for the week ended Nov. 13. That’s down slightly from the 6.20 percent recorded one week earlier, and 10 basis points below last year’s levels. Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARMs also fell, dropping an average of 21 basis points to 5.98 percent, Freddie Mac reported. One-year ARMs indexed to Treasuries, however, rose 8 basis points to an average of 5.33 percent. “Long-term mortgage rates fell slightly this week as signs the overall economy is weakening brought interest rates down market-wide,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “In addition, the actions of the Fed in recent weeks to assist commercial paper markets appear to be thawing part of the credit freeze that has gripped capital markets in the U.S., giving banks some breathing room. This is the second week that rates have come down for fixed-rate mortgages.’s own weekly survey also found easing mortgage rates, with its survey of lenders yielding an average rate of 6.39 percent for a traditional 30-year mortgage on a $165,000 loan. Mortgage rates, oddly enough, tend to do better during times of economic stress; which means that expectations of continued economic gloom portend little strong upward movement in mortgage rates during the near-term future. That assumption, however, assumes that agency MBS continue to tighten against Treasuries and move in more historically-consistent patterns; as we’ve seen in recent weeks, that’s anything from a sure bet. Write to Paul Jackson at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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