WASHINGTON – Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan crawling back over 4 per cent. It was the second straight week of increases in rates after they had fallen for five weeks amid concern over global economic weakness.
Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage increased to 4.02 per cent from 3.98 per cent last week. Still, at 4.02 per cent the rate remains at its lowest level since June 2013. The 30-year rate stood at 4.53 per cent back in January.
The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, jumped to 3.21 per cent from 3.13 per cent.
The five-week decline in long-term rates sparked a wave of homeowners looking to refinance mortgages at a bargain rate.
U.S government figures released last week showed that the U.S. economy powered its way to a solid annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent from July through September, outpacing most of the developed world and appearing on track to extend its momentum through this year and beyond.
An improving economy led the Federal Reserve last week to end a bond buying program that it launched during the 2008 financial crisis. The monthly bond purchases were intended to keep long-term interest rates low. Fed officials also have indicated that they will continue to hold shorter-term rates at near-zero levels until signs emerge of rising inflation.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.5 point.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.97 per cent from 2.94 per cent. The fee was steady at 0.5 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate rose to 2.45 per cent from 2.43 per cent. The fee held at 0.4 point.