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30-Year mortgage rates retreat for first time in 5 weeks

A for-sale sign is seen in front of a home in Arlington, Virginia, in November 2020.  (Getty Images)
A for-sale sign is seen in front of a home in Arlington, Virginia, in November 2020. (Getty Images)
By Vince Golle Bloomberg News

U.S. mortgage rates have declined for the first time in five weeks, helping propel a measure of home-purchase applications to the highest in a month.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell 8 basis points to 6.71%, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. The group’s index of mortgage applications for the purchase of a home increased 7.3% to 165.6, the highest since the week ended Feb. 10.

The decline in mortgage rates coincided with a sharp drop in 10-year Treasury yields as investors flocked to the safety of government securities on fears of contagion stemming from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. That’s also prompted traders to bet the Federal Reserve will proceed with a 25-basis point hike next week as opposed to 50.

Mortgage News Daily, which updates more frequently, put the 30-year rate at 6.75% late Tuesday.

The MBA’s index of refinancing applications also increased in the week ended March 10, helping boost the gauge of overall mortgage applications 6.5%.

The MBA survey, conducted weekly since 1990, uses responses from mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts. The data cover more than 75% of all retail residential mortgage applications in the U.S.

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