Mortgage rates climb higher; 15-year eclipses 3 percent

Another week, another substantial uptick in mortgage rates.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased for a fifth consecutive week to 3.91 percent with an average of 0.7 point, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac. That is up from 3.81 percent last week and well above its mark of 3.67 percent this time last year.

The 15-year climbed last week, too, moving above 3 percent for the first time in more than year, now up to 3.03 percent with an average 0.7 point. One week ago, it was at 2.98 percent, and one year ago, it was down at 2.94 percent.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages rounded out the across-the-board increases, with the five-year ARM sliding up from 2.66 percent to 2.74 percent and the one-year ARM moving from 2.54 percent to 2.58 percent last week.

“Continuing market concerns that the Federal Reserve may slow its bond purchases amid a strengthening economy added upward pressure on mortgage rates this week,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement, adding that recent home sales and consumer confidence readings likely contributed to the mortgage rate hikes.

Meanwhile, mortgage application volume continued its movement in the opposite direction, dropping 11.5 percent last week, according to the latest figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association. It was an even steeper decline than the previous week, when the index dropped a more modest 8.8 percent.

The MBA’s weekly purchase index dropped 15 percent for the previous week, while its refinance index sank 15 percent to its lowest level since November 2011.

 

J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.

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