Fixed-mortgage rates held steady this week, with the averages on both 30- and 15-year loans unchanged following lackluster news on the employment front.
The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained at 4.57 percent today's weekly Freddie Mac rate survey, while 15-year loans remained at 3.59 percent. The average initial rate on Treasury indexed 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) slid to 3.22 percent, down from 3.28 percent last week.
All rates are based on loans with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio. Fixed rates include an average of 0.7 points in fees and discounts; ARMs average 0.5 points.
Employment report a factor
A mixed employment report late last week was a major factor affecting rates, according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. Bureau of Labor figures released on Friday showed that the economy added only 169,000 jobs last month, fewer than expected, while revisions to June and July figures subtracted 74,000 jobs from the totals for those months.
At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent, which was the lowest since December 2008.
The weak economic news tempers expectations that the Federal Reserve will significantly roll back its bond-buying program when its Board of Governors meets later this month. That program has played a major role in keeping interest rates low in recent years, but Fed officials have indicated in recent months that they are considering scaling back the program in light of the improving economy.