Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mortgage Rates Lower (Slightly)

edgeio-key: 5e79e78736bdcd599cdfde543f77627063aa227a "Consumer confidence slipped in February to the lowest reading in three months, but manufacturing activity appears to have strengthened last month. On net, the latest economic news had little effect on mortgage rates this week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Over the past five weeks, mortgage rates have remained within a narrow range of 0.1 percentage points around this week's averages. Our forecast calls for rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to increase about one-quarter of a percentage point by the end of the year.

"The level of interest rates has slowed home sales in recent months, even though house prices still grew at a double-digit annualized pace during the final quarter of 2005, according to Freddie Mac's Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI). Since the average time homes are on the market is near a three-year high, house-price growth should slow to single-digit figures, which is consistent with historical periods," Nothaft added.

Other analysts are predicting a 0.5 percentage increase in mortgage rates, still at a historically low levels.

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