The 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell back below 5% for the week ending Nov. 5, the first time since Oct. 15 when they averaged 4.92%.

According to Freddie Mac, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.98%, down five basis points from last week. This should help stimulate refinancing activity this week.

Yesterday, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported a 15% jump in the Refinance Index to ~2694 for the week ending Oct. 30. The MBA's survey also showed mortgage rates dipping below 5%. Overall, however, refinancing activity is very muted relative to mortgage rate levels.

On the other mortgage terms, 15-year fixed mortgage rates fell six basis points to 4.40%; 5/1 hybrid ARMs declined seven basis points to 4.35%; and one-year ARM rates dropped 10 basis points to 4.47%.

Yesterday, the Senate passed its version of the homebuyers' tax credit with the House expected to vote on it before the week is out. President Obama is expected to sign it into law possibly as early as next week.

The bill renews the $8,000 first time homebuyers tax credit, adds a $6,500 tax credit for current homeowners to "move up" into another primary residence and is eligible for couples with joint incomes of up to $225,000 and individuals up to $125,000. The tax credit is available through the end of April 2010.

This should help buoy purchase activity. For the week ending Oct. 30, the Purchase Index declined nearly 2% to 250. The index has steadily declined in the past four weeks as it is difficult for buyers to close on a home by the expiration of the tax credit on Nov. 30.

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