Mortgage rates start to tick up again

Coming off consecutive weeks of decline, mortgage rates have started climbing again, according to new data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average jumped up to 4.39 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from 4.31 percent last week and well above 3.55 percent a year ago. The average has remained above 4 percent since surging past that mark in June.

The 15-year followed suit, increasing from 3.39 percent to 3.43 percent with an average of 0.7 point. One year ago, the average was 2.83 percent.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages held fairly steady, with the five-year ARM inching up from 3.16 percent to 3.18 percent and the one-year barely budging from last week’s mark of 2.65 percent to 2.64 percent.

The rates had slipped toward the end of last month after climbing to their highest levels in more than a year earlier this summer.

“Mortgage rates rose slightly leading up to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy statement this week,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement, noting that the Fed remarks included no policy changes. “The Fed indicated that the economy expanded at a modest pace, but the unemployment rate remains elevated.”

Still, “with mortgage rates still relatively low, the housing recovery continues to support the overall economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, the volume of mortgage applications continued falling this week, dropping 3.7 percent from the previous week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group’s purchase index dropped 2 percent, while its refinance index continued falling, posting a 4 percent drop this week.

The volume of refinanced mortgages has now sunk to its lowest level in more than two years.

 

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