Mortgage rates level off ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Mortgage rates barely moved heading into the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to data released Wednesday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.92 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.95 percent a week ago and 4.03 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average edged up to 3.32 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.31 percent a week ago and 3.25 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average increased to 3.22 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.21 percent a week ago and 3.12 percent a year ago.

 Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that more than half of the experts it surveyed say rates will remain relatively stable in the coming week. Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, disagrees. He predicts that home loan rates are headed up.

“Strong earnings, solid economic data, an upcoming Fed rate hike and the continued downsizing of the Fed’s balance sheet all point to higher rates,” he said.

Meanwhile, a drop in refinance applications offset an uptick in purchase applications last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 0.1 percent. The refinance index fell 5 percent, while the purchase index rose 5 percent.

 The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 49.9 percent of all applications.

“Refinance activity, already extremely sensitive to rate movements, decreased 4.8 percent, the fourth weekly decrease in five weeks,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “Purchase applications increased last week following Veterans Day week, and remained 4.1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The increase in overall purchase applications was driven by increases in all loan types: conventional, FHA and VA purchase loans.”