Mortgage rates headed upward this week, with the averages on
both 30- and 15-year home loans showing moderate increases.
Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to
3.42 percent this week, according to today's weekly
rate survey, up from 3.38 percent the week before. Average rates on
15-year loans rose to 2.71 percent, up from 2.66 percent
It's the highest 30-year mortgages have been in nearly four
months, dating back to the week of Sept. 29. However, rates have
remained relatively stable during that period and both 30- and
15-year rates remain within a one-tenth of a percentage point of
their all-time lows reached in recent months.
One year ago this week, the two types of home loans averaged
3.98 percent and 3.24 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, initial interest rates on 5-year adjustable-rate
mortgages (ARMs) were unchanged this week in the Freddie Mac
survey, remaining at 2.67 percent. All rates are based on an 80
percent loan-to-value ratio; fixed-rate loans include an average of
0.7 points in fees and discounts; ARMs include 0.5 points.
"Fixed mortgage rates were up slightly over the (Martin Luther
King Jr.) holiday week but remain highly affordable and should
continue to aid in the ongoing housing recovery," said Frank
Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.
He noted several trends that point to a strengthening housing
market, including year-end data showing that existing home sales in
2012 were up 9.2 percent over the previous year, with a total of
4.65 million units, the highest total in five years, according to
the National Association of Realtors.
Home prices showed significant gains during the year as well,
with the most recent Federal Housing Finance Agency's home purchase
price index showing an annual gain of 5.7 percent, the biggest
12-month increase reported since June 2006.
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