Fixed-rate mortgages fell for the seventh consecutive week to new lows. The 30-year fixed averaged 4.55 percent, down from 4.6 percent last week and 4.79 percent a year ago. The 15-year average fell from 3.78 percent to 3.74 percent week over week. This time last year, it was 4.2 percent.
While interest rates have not changed direction, market outlooks have. At this time last week, Freddie Mac reported that U.S. home price indexes may be nearing a bottom soon, based on the fact that prices fell 0.3 percent between February and March, which was the smallest decline since November 2009.
But this week, there is a different tune: Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, said in a statement, “The housing market is showing strain," noting that the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index fell 5.1 percent between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011. This represented the largest annual decline since the third quarter of 2009," he said.