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Yellen’s Likely Confirmation Puts the Brakes on Rising Interest Rates

Mortgage rates shifted down this week, according to reports from ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and finance website ""Bankrate.com"":http://www.bankrate.com/.


Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaging 4.22 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending November 21, a decrease from 4.35 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.31 percent.

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.27 percent (0.7 point) this week, down from 3.35 percent. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) average also retreated, averaging 2.95 percent (0.5 point), while the 1-year ARM was unchanged at 2.61 percent (0.4 point).


The declines accompanied a week of lukewarm economic data.

""Fixed mortgage rates fell this week on reports of weaker manufacturing growth and declines in overall inflation rates,"" said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac.

Manufacturing numbers show industrial production falling 0.1 percent in October, while the consumer price index dropped the same amount. Annually, consumer prices are up 1 percent, ""the smallest increase since October 2009,"" Nothaft said.

Meanwhile, Bankrate's weekly national survey has the 30-year fixed average dropping to 4.39 percent, with the 15-year fixed falling to 3.42 percent. The 5/1 ARM was also down, falling a few points to 3.28 percent.

While Freddie Mac attributed this week's movements to economic stats, Bankrate pointed to another cause.

""After two consecutive weeks moving to the upside, mortgage rates reversed course following Federal Reserve Chair nominee Janet Yellen's comment that 'there is more the Fed can do,'"" Bankrate said in a release.

""Investors took this to mean that the Fed will not be in a hurry to rein in stimulus or boost interest rates,"" Bankrate explained, ""and that helped bring both bond yields and mortgage rates back down.""


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