Mortgage rates move back up


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Coming off their first drop in more than a month, mortgage rates turned back north this week, according to new data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average jumped up to 4.51 percent, up substantially from last week, when the average rate fell down to 4.29 percent. One year ago, the average was nearly a full percentage point lower (3.56 percent).

The 15-year rose, too, up from 3.39 percent last week to 3.53 percent. This time last year, the rate averaged 2.86 percent.

Five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages rounded out the increases, with the average rate increasing to 3.26 percent from 3.10 percent, while the 1-year remained unchanged from last week at 2.66 percent.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, pinned the rise in rates to renewed speculation that the nation’s central bank may soon taper its economic stimulus efforts.

“June’s strong employment led to more market speculation that the Federal Reserve will reduce future bond purchases causing bond yields to rise and mortgage rates followed,” Nothaft said, adding that the economy added 195,000 jobs in June, above economists’ expectations, and hourly wages are trending higher.

Citing minutes from the central bank’s last meeting, he noted that “many members indicated further improvement in the outlook for the labor market would be required before it would be appropriate to slow the pace of bond purchases.”

The number of mortgage application dipped last week, too, falling 4 percent over the previous week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group’s weekly refinance index decreased 4.0 percent, too, while its purchase index fell 3 percent.

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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