Your weekly dose of San Jose Mortgage Rates, Real Estate Trends and top Economy news.

The week that was:

  • Freddie Mac in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.93 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 18, 2010. The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.12 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point.
  • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia between the third and fourth quarters of 2009; 32 states experienced double-digit growth.
  • New home construction is also slowly improving. One-family housing starts rose to an annual pace of 484,000 homes in January, which is up almost 36 percent from January 2009, based on the U.S. Census figures. Moreover, homebuilder assessments of market conditions over the first half of 2010 improved in February, according to National Association of Homebuilders / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
  • The Fed increased the discount rate to 0.75% from 0.50%. It in itself is not going to increase lending rates, but it once and for all signals the Fed is finished supporting banks and other recipients of government largesse.

The Week that will be:

  • Jan housing statistics this week with new and existing home sales, both expected to have increased from Dec. The Dec Case/Shiller home price index also out.
  • And there is more; two consumer sentiment indexes (the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index and the U. of Michigan consumer sentiment index).

Interest rates are headed higher, in a choppy pattern but up. As for any potential for a sizeable decline in rates; it will take a solid break in the equity markets which at this point doesn’t seem likely.

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