Recent employment data revealed a decrease in the national unemployment rate in the US, but other sectors didn't report positive progress. Among these, the mortgage sector is probably the most disappointing from a realtor's perspective. Although mortgage rates have only increased slightly as of yesterday (up between .125% to .375%.), the news is indicative of an alarming trend, where demand for home loan refinancing drops and applications for home mortgages are lower than last year, just ahead of the spring buying season.
Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.13 percent in the week, up 32 basis points from 4.81 percent the prior week. It was the highest rate since the week ended April 9, 2010, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Refinance Index decreased 7.7 percent from the previous week and the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index fell 1.4 percent from one week earlier.
FreeRateUpdate.com announced today that 30 year fixed mortgage rates are at 4.875%, and 4.250% for conforming 15 year fixed mortgage rates. 5/1 ARM conforming loan rates are at 3.250%. Well qualified borrowers who meet lender guidelines can still lock in these mortgage interest rates with 0.7 to 1% origination point.
The trend seems to be affecting other markets around the world as well. Ireland's KBC Bank is increasing the interest charged on its fixed-rate mortgages by up to 0.7 percentage points for new and existing customers. The move will see its five-year rate for new customers go up to 5.2%. In China, mortgage rates for housing provident fund loans of more than five years rose to 4.50 percent from the previous 4.30 percent.