Mortgage rates were in a holding pattern it seems as markets awaited the Federal Open Market Committee's decision due out later today.
Freddie Mac reported 30-year fixed mortgage rates were unchanged at 3.55% while 15-year rates slipped just one basis point to 2.85%. On the adjustable side, 5/1 hybrid ARMs were three basis points lower to 2.72%, while one-year rates held at a record low 2.61%.
Refinance applications jumped nearly 12% to 4730 in the week ending Sept. 7, reported the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) as mortgage rates eased to 3.55% from 3.59% and 3.66% over the prior two weeks.
It seems possible, however, that activity may decline next week on noise related to the adjustment to the Labor Day holiday.
In its release, the MBA noted the holiday adjusted numbers could overstate refinance applications as "some lenders who rely primarily on the Internet/consumer direct channel for originations saw little if any decline in applications for Labor Day as compared with the drops for lenders relying on retail offices, perhaps because borrowers had additional time over the Labor Day weekend to complete online refinance applications."
While new mortgage rate lows are possible if the Federal Reserve engages in another round of quantitative easing, Freddie Mac's latest outlook shows 30-year mortgage rates averaging 3.6% in 3Q12 from 3.8% in 2Q12, but increasing to 3.7% in the fourth quarter. They are expected to have a slow and steady rise over next year to an average of 4.1% by 4Q13 as the economy and employment improve.