Mortgage interest rates on new houses in early June climbed to the highest levels ever recorded by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.
The bank board, which regulates the savings and loan industry, said that the national average interest rate on a new house mortgages was 9.46 percent early last month, the highest level recorded since the board began collecting such information in 1963.
Mortgage interest rates have continued to rise since last month as short-term interest rates rise and money available to make mortgage loans becomes scarcer.
In the Washington area the interest rates on morgages are higher than then the national average. Real estate industry sources said that interest rates are as high as 10.25 percent in the area.
The D. C. City Council recently passsed a law raising the maximum permissible interest rate on a mortgage from 10 percent to 11 percent in order to keep mortgage lending from totally drying up in the city.
The bank board said that the average effective rate on loans for previously occupied houses was 9.47 percent in June, but below the 9.60 percent peak recorded for these loans in Dec., 1974.
The previous peak for interest rates for new houses also occurred in December, 1974, at the tail-end of the credit crunch that preceded the worst of the recessions since World War II. In Dec., 1974, the average effective interest rate reached 9.37 percent.
In May the average interest rate on new home mortgages was 9.35 percent and on previously occupied homes it was 9.37 percent.
The mortgage market is the victim of rising short-term interest rates, triggered in part by strong loan demand on the part of businesses as well as by tighter Federal Reserve Board monetary policy.
The central bank has raised interest rates through its open market operations by a full percentage point since late April in an attempt to fight inflation by reducing the growth in the supply of money in the economy.
The federal funds rate, the interest banks charge each other for overnight loans of excess reserves and the key interest rate in the Fed's monetary policy arsenal, is about 7.75 percent today compared with 6.75 percent in April.
As short-term interest rates rise many depositors at savings and loan associations (which make the bulk of mortgage loans in the United States) withdraw their savings and invest them in other securities such as Treasury bills. The interest celling on a federally chartered S&L passbook is 5.25 percent. The Treasury sold bills yesterday for more than 7.1 percent on 91-day issues and 7.5 percent on 182-day issues.
Bank board chairman Robert H. McKinney said yesterday that new savings instruments tied to the Treasury bill rate "appear to have been of ocnsiderable help to (savings and loan associations) in attracting new funds that would be available for the mortgage market."
These special certificants require investors to keep a minimum of $10,000 on deposit for at least six months and are paid 1/4 of a percentage point more than the 182-day Treasury bill rate during the week the certificate is purchased.