Mortgage rates remained basically unchanged during the last week of the year, according to Freddie Mac's Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 3.35% for the week, 2 basis points below last week's 3.37%. The 30-year FRM average in 2012 was 3.66%, with a high of 4.08% and a low of 3.31%.
The 15-year FRM average was unchanged for the week, remaining at 2.65%. In 2012, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.93% with a high of 3.30% and a low of 2.63%.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey was not released for the week due to the Christmas holiday.
Mortgage market news highlights for the week included new and pending home sales reports as well as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index release.
The Commerce Department's New Residential Home Sales report showed an increase of 4.4% in new home sales for November bringing the year-over-year increase to 15.3%. In November, new residential homes sold for an average price of $299,700, according to the Commerce Department's report.
The National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales Index was also higher in November. The Index reported a 1.7% gain, reaching its highest reading since April 2010. The Index showed the greatest regional improvement in the Northeast, which increased 5.2% during the month.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed further signs of housing market improvements. The 20-City Composite increased 4.3% on an annual basis while the 10-City Composite increased 3.4%.
Overall, mortgage markets appear to be ending the year at a consistent recovery pace, however, new fiscal policy actions in the weeks ahead could cause some changes in the market's direction for 2013.