Mortgage rates dipped back below 4 percent during the week ending March 29, as weaker housing market and economic performance is reported.
According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.99 percent, down from 4.08 percent a week earlier. Last year at this time, the rate was recorded at 4.86 percent.
"Mortgage rates slid this week amid weaker housing economic indicators," said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft. "The S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Composite home price index slid in January to its lowest reading since December 2002."
Nothaft also noted the decline in the new-home sales rate, as well as pending existing-home sales as major factors behind the declining mortgage rates.
Meanwhile, the rate for a 15-year FRM averaged 3.23 percent. This is slightly lower than the previous week when it averaged 3.3 percent. Last year at this time, the rate for a 15-year FRM hovered at 4.09 percent.
Additionally, the rates for 5- and 1-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages edged lower to 2.9 and 2.78 percent, respectively.
Despite mortgage rates hovering near all-time lows, the government-sponsored enterprise also reported that the number of loan modifications and overall delinquencies remained relatively flat in February from the previous month.
According to a recent mortgage records, the number of modifications completed during the month edged lower to a total of 4,644. In January, there were a reported 4,752 loan modifications completed. As a result, the GSE's mortgage-related investment portfolio declined an estimated $14.7 billion to a principal balance of $627.8 billion.
Meanwhile, the amount of seriously delinquent single-family mortgages inched higher to a rate of 3.59 percent in February. In the previous month, the rate stood at 3.57 percent, indicating only a minor change.
By the end of February, real estate data from Freddie reported that the company's single-family refinance loan purchase guarantee grew to a volume of approximately $28.2 billion, from $28 billion the month earlier.
As a result, Freddie's total mortgage portfolio increased to an annualized growth rate of 3.3 percent by the end of February - a trend that is expected to continue throughout much of the year.