Mortgage Rates Wobble, but Don't Fall Down (or Up)

Freddie Mac released its weekly update on national mortgage rates Thursday morning, showing -- for the first time in months -- that rates have been left mostly changed since last week.

Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) edged up one basis point, to 4.40%, while 15-year FRMs stood pat, at 3.43%. Among adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), 5/1 ARMs rose one basis point, to 3.19%; one-year ARMs got cheap by two b.p. -- 2.62%.

Commenting on the numbers, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft suggested that July's "mixed" employment report may explain why rates failed to move either up, or down, very much:

Even though the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July, which was the lowest since December 2008, the economy added only 161,000 jobs, short of the market consensus forecast. In addition, revisions subtracted 26,000 workers in the prior two months. Finally, hourly wages fell 0.1 percent in July, representing the first decline since October 2012.

So, bad news counteracted good news, canceling out any reasons for mortgage rates to move in either one direction or another.


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