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Fixed Rates Barely Budge After Spiking

After spiking last week, fixed mortgage rates held their ground this week as the economy showed signs of stability, at least for the near future.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.53 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending February 7, unchanged from last week. This time last year, the average FRM was 3.87 percent.

The 15-year fixed average dipped, meanwhile, dropping to 2.77 percent (0.7 point) from 2.81 percent.

Adjustable rates saw more movement, with the average 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) dropping 7 basis points to 2.63 percent (0.6 point) and the average 1-yearARM falling 6 basis points to 2.53 percent (0.4 point).

“Mortgage rates were either unchanged or lower this week following a mostly positive employment data report for January,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac, adding that “[t]he only downside to the report was that the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.8 to 7.9 percent in January, which is still historically high.”

Bankrate reported similar findings. According to the site’s weekly survey, the 30-year fixed average was 3.76 percent this week, down a single basis point from last week. The 15-year fixed average settled down to 3.00 percent from 3.03 percent previously.

At the same time, the 5/1 ARM slipped from 2.78 percent to 2.76 percent.

“Mortgage rates ticked lower after the Federal Reserve indicated plans to maintain the pace of bond-buying efforts and another report of steady job growth. With the fiscal cliff averted, the debt ceiling debate delayed, and even overtures of postponing the significant federal spending cuts known as the sequester, any immediate risk of the wheels coming off the economy seems remote,” Bankrate said. “As a result, bond yields and mortgage rates are more or less holding steady, awaiting a catalyst for the next big move.”

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