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U.S. Mortgage Rates Mixed

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By Amy HoakRISMEDIA, September 3, 2007-(MarketWatch)-Long-term mortgage rates headed down this week, while short-term rates moved up, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

The increases seen in ARM rates are “consistent with movement of the yields on short-term Treasury securities, which have exhibited higher volatility recently due to market uncertainties,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a news release.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.45% during the week ending Aug. 30, down from last week’s 6.52% average. The mortgage averaged 6.44% a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.12%, down from 6.18% last week. The mortgage averaged 6.14% a year ago.

Meanwhile, 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 6.35%, up slightly from 6.34% last week. The hybrid averaged 6.11% a year ago.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs took a bigger jump, averaging 5.84% for the week, up from 5.60% last week. The ARM averaged 5.59% a year ago.

To obtain the rates, both fixed-rate mortgages required payment of an average 0.5 point. The 5-year ARM required payment of an average 0.6 point and the 1-year ARM required payment of a 0.8 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

Nothaft also pointed out in his comments that new-home sales rose in July to 870,000 units, led by a 22% increase in the Western region, numbers that defied expectations.

“Existing-home sales fell, however, though by less than the market had forecasted, to 5.75 million units, with the decline limited to the Midwest region,” he said.

In a separate survey released on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said that mortgage applications fell 4.0% last week.

The MBA survey covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications.

Amy Hoak is a MarketWatch reporter based in Chicago.

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