Mortgage rates are up sharply this week, with the most popular
loan types up a full tenth of a percentage point, according to the
Average interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to
3.53 percent, up from 3.42 percent the week before, while 15-year
fixed-rate loans rose to 2.81 percent, up from 2.71 percent
It's the highest either rate has been in over four months.
A smaller rise was seen for average initial rates on 5-year
adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs), which increased to 2.70 percent,
up from 2.67 percent last week.
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, suggested that rates
were responding to signs of a growing housing market. He noted that
new home sales hit their highest level in three years in 2012, with
the Census Bureau reporting 367,000 units, and their first annual
increase in seven years.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported
that 2012 pending home sales were at their highest level since
2006, with a 5.5 percent annual increase through November, and that
home prices also showed their strongest annual gains since that
same year, with the S&P/Case Shiller indices showing a 5.5
percent rise in home prices over the 12 months ending in
Figures released today by the Commerce Department show that
residential fixed investment added 0.4 percentage points to GDP
growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, despite an overall decline in
gross domestic product of 0.1 percent during that period.
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