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Light Economic Data Sparks Little Reaction for Mortgage Rates

Fixed mortgage rates moved down slightly this week, reflecting a lack of much solid news for markets to latch on to.

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""Freddie Mac's"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.42 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending December 12, a decrease from 4.46 percent last week. The same time last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.32 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.43 percent (0.7 point), down from 3.47 percent last week's survey.

The story was the same for adjustable rates. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.94 percent (0.4 point) this week, falling from 2.99 percent. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.51 percent (0.4 point), meanwhile, dropping from 2.59 percent.

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""Mortgage rates were little changed amid a light week of economic data releases,"" said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac. ""Of the few releases, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 203,000 in November and the unemployment rate declined to 7.0 percent.

""Also, single family mortgage debt outstanding increased for the first time since 2008. This is a positive sign as it reflects that the pick-up in new purchase-money obligations has offset loan paydowns and led to a net increase in principal outstanding,"" he added.

""Bankrate.com"":http://www.bankrate.com/ reported even smaller rate changes in its weekly national survey. According to the finance site, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.55 percent this week--unchanged from the last report--while the 15-year fixed was down slightly to 3.60 percent.

In adjustable rates, the 5/1 ARM was up marginally to 3.34 percent.

""The strength in recent economic data, particularly on the job front, means tapering will be part of the discussion when the Federal Open Market Committee meets next week,"" Bankrate said in its weekly release. ""Don't expect any notable moves in bond yields or mortgage rates until the conclusion of the meeting and the announcement of whether the Fed will begin tapering now, or wait until 2014.""

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