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Residential financing rates nudge down week-over-week

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 9:15:01 AM

Residential financing rates hinge on economic data reported from across the country, and recent data indicate slightly weaker figures. As a result, Freddie Mac noted that mortgage rates edged down slightly for the week ending March 20, news many buyers may find encouraging.

According to the government-sponsored enterprise, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32 percent, compared to last week's 4.37 percent. In addition, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.32 percent, down from the previous week's 3.38 percent. However, these rates are significantly above last year's, although still considered historically affordable.

"Mortgage rates eased this week as housing starts declined 0.2 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 907,000, below consensus forecast," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. "The rate on the 10-year treasury note rose following the Fed's announcement Wednesday afternoon and, if this holds, interest rates may begin to trend higher going into next week."

Moreover, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that residential financing applications dropped as well, down 1.2 percent from the prior week for the week ending March 14.

The refinance share of mortgage activity also declined for the sixth week in a row, now at 56.5 percent of the total number of applications, according to the MBA.