Fixed Rates Tumble on Weak Jobs Report

Fixed mortgage rates plummeted this week following the release of disappointing employment data for March.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.43 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending April 11, down from 3.54 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM was averaging 3.88 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.65 percent (0.7 point), down from 2.74 percent in the last survey.

Adjustable rates also fell, though not as drastically. The 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.62 percent (0.5 point) this week from 2.65 percent last week, while the 1-year ARM average fell to 2.62 percent (0.3 point) from 2.63 percent previously.

The sharp drop follows last Friday’s lackluster unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed only 88,000 net new jobs added in March. While the unemployment rate declined to 7.6 percent, the drop was mostly due to the loss of nearly half a million people from the workforce.

Bankrate.com also reported significant declines in its weekly national survey. According to the site, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.64 percent (from 3.73 percent), while the 15-year fixed averaged 2.89 percent (from 2.95 percent).

The average rate on the 5/1 ARM, meanwhile, was 2.70 percent, down from 2.72 percent.

“Mortgage rates have now fallen four consecutive weeks,” Bankrate noted in a release. “The pullback started with the banking crisis in Cyprus, continued with a run of uninspiring U.S. economic data, and picked up speed with the weak jobs report. But as the sting of the lousy jobs report slowly wears off, we’ll likely see mortgage rates crawling back over the coming week.”

Two-thirds of panelists surveyed for Bankrate’s weekly Rate Trend Index agreed that rates won’t change significantly over the next week, while the remainder predicted an increase. No experts surveyed anticipate further declines in the coming week.

Tory Barringer

DSNews