The Washington Post

Mortgage rates

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

The 30-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.4 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was up from 3.34 percent a week ago, but down from 3.89 percent this time last year. Despite the increase, the 30-year fixed rate has remained below 3.5 percent the past 16 weeks. The all-time low was 3.31 percent set Nov. 21.

The 15-year fixed-rate average also went up, climbing to 2.66 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 2.64 percent a week ago and 3.16 percent a year ago. It has not been above 3 percent since May 24.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM fell, averaging 2.67 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.71 percent last week.

The one-year ARM went up, averaging 2.6 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.57 percent a week ago.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, attributed the rise in rates to December’s strong employment report.

“The economy added 155,000 jobs, above the consensus market forecast, and November’s job growth was revised upward by another 24,000 workers,” Nothaft said in a statement. “This helped keep the unemployment rate steady at 7.8 percent, the lowest since December 2008. For all of 2012, 1.86 million jobs were created and represented the largest annual gain since 2006.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications started off the year on an uptick, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, climbed 11.7 percent from the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 12 percent, while the Purchase Index went up 10 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity remained steady at 82 percent of total applications.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.


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