Mortgage rates retreat amid political turmoil in Washington

Steven Senne  AP

Steven Senne AP

And the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent this week, down from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent.

It was 3.58% in the year-ago week.

Quote Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

A year ago, the rate was 3.58 percent.

Meanwhile, Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed similar decreases in average rates with a 30-year FRM at 4.02%, a 15-year FRM down to 3.27%, and a 5-year ARM down to 3.13% in the week ending May 18. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.81 percent.

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Long-term USA mortgage rates inched lower this week. Bond prices rose as investors shunned riskier assets.

"Recent political turmoil and some not-so-great economic data have the stock market a bit jittery", Kuiper said.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. "This benefits the bond market (where mortgage interest rates are priced), as investors look for certainty and to avoid volatility".

Mortgage rates will likely fall next week as 10-year Treasury yields have declined on safe-haven demand for bonds due to concerns about potential delays in tax cuts and other fiscal stimulus amid probes into U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russian Federation.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 41.1 percent of all applications, its lowest level since September 2008. "Purchase volume is running more than 9 percent above last year's pace, with conventional purchase application volume up more than 12 percent".

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