Mortgage rates crept lower for the third straight week as reports showed weakness in retail spending and consumer sentiment.
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.41 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 18, down from 3.43 percent last week and 3.9 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 3.31 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.
For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.65 percent last week and 3.13 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1991 of 2.63 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.
For five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, rates averaged 2.60 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 2.62 percent last week and 2.78 percent a year earlier. That's a new low in Freddie Mac records dating to 2005, surpassing the previous low of 2.61 percent seen during the week ending March 21.
Rates on one-year Treasury-indexed ARM loans averaged 2.63 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from 2.62 percent last week and 2.81 percent a year ago. Rates on one-year ARM loans hit a low in records dating to 1984 of 2.52 percent during the week ending Dec. 20, 2012.
"Mortgage rates nudged lower this week as consumer spending showed signs of weakness. Retail sales contracted for the second time in three months, falling 0.4 percent in March," said Freddie Mac chief ecomomist Frank Nothaft in a statement. "In addition, the University of Michigan reported their Consumer Sentiment Index dropped 6.3 points in April to settle at 72.3, its lowest level since July. The April reading snapped a streak of three consecutive gains."
Looking back a week, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association found that applications for purchase loans hit their highest level since May of 2010 for the week ending April 12, rising a seasonally adjusted 4 percent compared to the previous week and 20 percent from a year ago.
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