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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 08/16/2012

Mortgage rates rise for third week

Mortgage rates continued their upward climb this week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

A sign displays mortgage rates inside a Citibank office. (Justin Sullivan - Getty Images)
The 30-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.62 percent, up from 3.59 percent a week ago. Since falling below 3.5 percent for the first time late last month, the rate has increased steadily the past three weeks. It was 4.15 percent for the same week a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average remained below 3 percent for the 12th consecutive week, but it too went up. It grew to 2.88 percent from 2.84 percent a week ago, but was down from 3.36 percent a year ago.

The hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages also remained below 3 percent this week. The one-year ARM averaged 2.69 percent, up from 2.65 percent a week ago but down from 2.86 percent a year ago.

The five-year ARM averaged 2.76 percent, down from 2.77 a week ago. It was 3.08 percent a year ago.

“The latest economic indicators point toward low inflation but gradually stronger economic activity which placed further upward pressure on long-term Treasury yields and, in turn, fixed mortgage rates,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “For example, inflation remains in check with 12-month growth in the core consumer price index falling for a second month to 2.1 percent in July. At the same time, industrial production rose 0.6 percent in July compared to a 0.1 percent increase in June and retail sales jumped 0.8 percent in July from a 0.7 percent decline in June.”

As mortgage rates have risen, mortgage applications have fallen. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that applications for mortgages fell 4.5 percent from the previous week as both the Purchase Index and Refinance Index declined. The Purchase Index was down 2 percent, while the Refinance Index was down 5 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage applications continued at its robust pace, accounting for about 81 percent of total applications.

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By  |  10:00 AM ET, 08/16/2012

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