Fixed mortgage rates eased slightly this week, according to Freddie Mac.

The 30-year rate averaged 4.82% compared with 4.86% last week, while 15-year rates slipped two basis points to 4.50% (with fees and points averaging 0.7 points).

Adjustable rates were mixed with the 5/1 hybrid ARM declining to 4.79% from 4.82%, while one-year ARM rates jumped 11 basis points to 4.82%.

Slight improvement in mortgages could provide stimulus for refinancing activity this week. In general, however, the response has been muted for various reasons, including capacity constraints at mortgage bankers.

For example, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported for the week ending May 15, the Refinance Index rose a modest 4.5% to 4794 as mortgage rates averaged 4.86%.

Further, since peaking at 6814 in early April when rates tumbled to a record low 4.78%, the Refinance Index is down 30% even though mortgage rates since then have averaged an historically attractive 4.83%.

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