“Everyone is trying to read the tea leaves,” Nothaft said. He also notes that the long-term mortgage rate is still well under the mid-8 percent range of the summer of 2000, when the economy hit its last peak. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the mortgage bankers’ survey also showed that mortgage-application activity fell 3.4 percent from the prior week and is down 13.3 percent from a year ago. Purchase activity dipped 1.2 percent weekly and is off by 0.5 percent from from a year ago. Jay Brinkman, vice president of research and economics for the mortgage bankers, said the big change is in the refinance market. Refinance activity is off 28.3 percent from a year ago. Keith T. Gumbinger, vice president of mortgage tracker HSH Associates, said it is not unusual for rates to take a step back during a prolonged run-up like this one. Not much should change the rest of the year – good news for anyone in the market to buy a house. It’s tougher for homeowners thinking about refinancing or an equity line of credit, which will likely get more expensive if the Fed continues bumping up short-term rates. “There is no place to go for payment relief in terms of refinancing,” he said. Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mortgage rates fell this week for the first time since September as fears about rising inflation eased, concluded two surveys released Wednesday. The drop was slight, but rates are expected to stay in their current range for the rest of the year. And the minutes released Tuesday from the Federal Reserve Board’s meeting on Nov. 1 suggested that the Fed’s penchant for raising short term rates may soon end. Still, while low by historical standards, long-term rates are at their highest level since the first part of last year, while adjustables are in territory not seen since 2002. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Mortgage giant Freddie Mac’s survey showed rates falling for the first time in 13 weeks. The Mortgage Bankers Association survey showed rates rising or flat since the week of Sept. 9. “We could get a little more good news,” Freddie Mack chief economist Frank Nothaft in regard to inflation. The consensus is that the Fed will bump its overnight rate up a quarter percent at its meeting on Dec. 13 and then by the same amount at the last meeting presided over by retiring Chairman Alan Greenspan. Then it will take a breather at 4.5 percent.