Interest Rates Hold Ground After August Jobs Report

August’s mixed employment numbers did little to move mortgage rates this week, according to surveys from Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows the average 30-year fixed rate staying put at 4.57 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending September 12. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed averaged 3.55 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent (0.7 point), also unchanged from last week.

Adjustable rates, meanwhile, dipped. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.22 percent (0.5 point) this week, a drop from

last week’s 3.28 percent. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.67 percent (0.4 point), down from 2.71 percent.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week following a mixed employment report,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac. “For example, the economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which was below the market consensus forecast, and revisions subtracted another 74,000 from the prior two months. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, which was the lowest since December 2008.”

Bankrate’s weekly national survey showed equally modest movements. The 30-year FRM averaged 4.71 percent, down a single basis point, while the 15-year fixed rate rose the same amount to 3.75 percent.

The 5/1 ARM averaged 3.65 percent, unchanged week-over-week.

“The rise in mortgage rates in recent months has been in anticipation of the Federal Reserve beginning to slow the pace of their monthly bond purchases. With the moment of truth now close at hand, as the Fed meeting concludes on Sept. 18, it is wait-and-see time for mortgage rates,” Bankrate said in its release. “Whether the Fed tapers this month or not is likely to be a game-time decision, but it is inevitable. If it doesn’t happen this month, speculation will immediately begin to swirl about an October start.”