Average fixed mortgage rates declined for the first time in 2018, according to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
For the week ending March 15, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.44 percent, down from 4.46 percent the week before. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.30 percent.
Average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages had climbed each of the previous nine weeks, beginning the year at 3.99 percent.
Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 3.90 percent last week, compared with 3.94 percent the week before. The average 15-year rate was 3.50 percent a year ago.
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The average for 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) was 3.67 in the most recent survey, up from 3.63 percent the week before. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.28 percent.
Freddie Mac noted in last week’s report that mortgage rates likely reacted to the latest Consumer Price Index report, which showed a moderating of inflation.
Upward inflation would potentially lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more aggressively than planned. Economists expect the latest report means that, for now, the Fed will stick with the three rate hikes already planned for this year.
“Headline consumer price inflation was 2.2 percent year-over-year in February. Following this news, the 10-year Treasury fell slightly,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist for Freddie Mac. “Mortgage rates followed Treasurys and ended a nine-week surge.”