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30-Year Loan Rates at 8-Month High

From News Services and Staff Reports
Saturday, April 2, 2005; Page G04

Rates on 30-year mortgages climbed this week to their highest point in eight months, hovering at slightly more than 6 percent.

In its weekly nationwide survey, Freddie Mac said Thursday that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04 percent, up from 6.01 percent last week. This week's rate was the highest since 30-year mortgages averaged 6.21 percent in July. The latest increase, the seventh consecutive weekly rise, was attributed to new worries about inflation.

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"Financial markets currently are very inflation sensitive, putting upward pressure on mortgage rates," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. Last week, the Federal Reserve spurred new inflation concerns when it noted, in announcing its seventh boost in short-term rates, that price pressures had picked up in recent months.

While 30-year mortgages have jumped by nearly one-half percentage point since hitting a low for this year of 5.57 percent in early February, Nothaft predicted future increases will be at a moderate pace. "Looking ahead into the spring home buying season, we don't expect mortgage rates to rise too much or too quickly in the near term," he said. "Housing activity should stay on track for a strong 2005."

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rose to 5.58 percent this week, up from 5.56 percent last week.

Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.33 percent this week, compared with 4.24 percent last week.

Five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.43 percent this week, up from 5.35 percent last week. These hybrid mortgages have a fixed-rate for five years and then adjust each year after that.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year mortgages, 15-year mortgages and five-year ARMs each carried a fee of 0.7 point. The one-year ARM had a financing fee of 0.8 point.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 5.52 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 4.84 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 3.46 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.

PERSONNEL . . . Bozzuto Development Co. promoted Steve Strazzella to vice president. Bozzuto Homes hired Leslie Marks as director of special projects and promoted Maria Nicastro to regional-sales and marketing manager. . . . Engineering firm Loiederman Soltesz Associates promoted John L. Brundage to senior associate, Andrew T. Der to associate and Phil R. Isaja to associate. . . . First Horizon Home Loans of Fairfax named David Fine as District builder manager.

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