The trend of declining rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs), for example, finally hit a wall this week, with rates holding steady at 3.33%. Rates for 30-year FRMs actually reversed course -- rising five basis points to reach 4.28%.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were similarly mixed; 5/1 ARMs got three basis points cheaper, falling to 3.05%. One-year ARMs got more expensive, tacking on four b.p. and rising to 2.55%.
Commenting on the results, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft noted that employment growth was weak in January, as the economy added only 113,000 net new jobs. However, the unemployment rate continued to decline, falling to 6.6% -- its 13th consecutive month of steady to declining unemployment.
These conflicting trends may help to explain why mortgage rates are going every which way.