Mortgage rates move higher following Federal Reserve meeting

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Fixed mortgage rates moved higher last week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The increase was anticipated after the Federal Reserve seemed to signal last week that it could begin raising interest rates sooner than expected.

Mortgage chart for March 27

The 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.4 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 4.32 percent a week ago and 3.57 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 3.42 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.32 percent a week ago and 2.76 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average rose to 3.1 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.02 percent a week ago and 2.68 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average dropped to 2.44 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.49 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates rose following the uptick on the 10-year Treasury note after comments by the Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen indicated a possible increase in interest rates as soon as early 2015,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Also, the [Standard & Poor’s]/Case-Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 13.2 percent over the 12-months ending in January 2014.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications declined last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, dropped 3.5 percent. The Refinance index fell 8 percent, while the Purchase Index rose 3 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity declined for the seventh week in a row, accounting for 54 percent of all applications, its lowest level since April 2010.

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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