Real Estate Notes

Rates for 30-year mortgages are on the rise

Friday, January 21, 2011; 8:46 AM

Mortgage rates for 30-year U.S. loans rose for the first time in three weeks, increasing borrowing costs for homebuyers as the housing market shows signs of recovering. The average rate rose to 4.74 percent this week from 4.71 percent last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate on the 15-year loan, a popular refinance option, slipped to 4.05 percent from 4.08 percent.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 3.69 percent from 3.72 percent.

The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate home loans rose to 3.25 percent this week from 3.23 percent.

Mortgage rates have changed little in the new year after spiking more than half a percentage point in the last two months of 2010. Investors sold off Treasury bonds during that stretch, driving yields lower. Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note.

The 30-year loan rate reached a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November, and the 15-year mortgage rate fell to 3.57 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.

Mortgage applications in the U.S. rose 5 percent in the week ended Jan. 14, the Mortgage Bankers Association's index showed yesterday. The group's refinancing gauge jumped 7.7 percent, while purchase applications fell to a two-month low.

Sales of previously owned homes jumped more than forecast last month as buyers tried to lock in lower borrowing costs. Purchases climbed 12 percent, the most since May, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. However, for the year, fewer people bought previously owned homes than in any year since 1997, the realty group said. Sales fell 4.8 percent last year to 4.91 million units.

Freddie Mac's rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year and 15-year loan in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.8 point. The average fee for the five-year ARM was 0.7 point, and the fee for the 1-year ARM was 0.6 point.

-From news services


Last week


This week

© 2011 The Washington Post Company