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Recovering Economy Nudges Mortgage Rates Higher

March 22, 2002

Housing Industry Expected To Remain Vibrant In 2002

McLean, VA ? In Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 7.14 percent, with an average 0.7 point, for the week ending March 22, 2002, up from 7.08 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.89 percent. This is the highest the 30-year has been since the first week of January when it was 7.14 percent.

The average for the 15-year FRM this week is 6.65 percent, with an average 0.7 point, also higher than last week's average of 6.59 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.44 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.11 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week's average of 5.08 percent. This time last year, the one-year ARM averaged 6.22 percent.

(Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)

"Housing starts in February rose to a three-year record high surprising most industry analysts," said Robert Van Order, Freddie Mac's chief international economist. "And that information supports the idea that the housing industry continues to prop up the overall economy as it makes a modest recovery from the recent short recession.

"Although February new home sales are expected to be higher, February existing home sales are predicted to be lower. Slightly higher mortgage rates in March, however, may cause all of the above to fall to lower levels. That said, the overall housing market will be weaker in 2002 than it was in 2001, but it will still be a very good year for housing."

The National Mortgage Rate Snapshot
This Week One Week Ago One Year Ago
30-Yr
15-Yr
1 Yr-ARM
7.14
6.65
5.11
0.7
0.7
0.7
30-Yr
15-Yr
1 Yr-ARM
7.08
6.59
5.08
0.7
0.7
0.7
30-Yr
15-Yr
1 Yr-ARM
6.89

6.44

6.22
1.0
1.0
0.9

Source: Freddie Mac



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