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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/06/2012

Mortgage rates climb slightly; the 30-year fixed-rate average is now 3.34 percent

Mortgage rates were on the rise again this week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

After falling to an all-time low two weeks ago, the 30-year fixed-rate average crept up to 3.34 percent, with an average 0.7 point. The 30-year average, which was 3.32 percent last week and 3.99 percent a year ago at this time, has been below 3.5 percent the past 11 weeks.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also bumped up to 2.67 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.64 percent a week ago and 3.27 percent a year ago. Since it fell to 2.69 percent nine weeks ago, the 15-year average has remained below the five-year adjustable-rate average.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages went the opposite direction of fixed-rate mortgages. The five-year ARM fell to 2.69 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 2.72 percent a week ago and 2.93 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM dipped to 2.55 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from 2.56 percent a week ago and 2.80 percent a year ago.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, credited indications of stronger economic growth and signs of tame inflation as the reason why mortgages rates were little changed this week.

“Third quarter real GDP growth was revised from an initial report of 2 percent to 2.7 percent, nearly matching the market consensus forecast,” Nothaft said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the12-month growth rate of the core price index of consumer expenditures remained at 1.7 percent in October, which is on the low end of the Federal Reserve’s projection range for this year.

“The housing market is aiding in this recovery. For instance, fixed residential investment added positive growth over the past six consecutive quarters and in the third quarter alone contributed 0.3 percentage points to real GDP growth. In addition, residential construction spending was up 3 percent between September and October. And, pending home sales saw a 5.2 percent increase in October to its highest reading since March 2007.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications showed an uptick, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, increased 4.5 percent from last week. The Refinance Index rose 6 percent, while the Purchase Index was mostly unchanged from the previous week, edging up 0.1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity climbed to 83 percent of total applications.

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 12/06/2012

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