Rates on 30-year mortgages stayed at more than 6 percent for the third consecutive week, rising to the highest level in 15 months.
The nationwide average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was 6.15 percent this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday, up from 6.10 percent last week and the highest level since 30-year mortgages were at 6.21 percent in late July 2004.
Rates on all other types of mortgages also rose, reflecting growing nervousness in financial markets about inflation pressures, generated in part by the spike in energy prices in the wake of the lost production after the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
The nation's housing market has been booming this year with sales of both new and existing homes expected to set records for the fifth consecutive year. However, economists are forecasting that the sales pace will slow next year under the impact of higher mortgage rates.
The government reported Thursday that new-home sales rose by 2.1 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted 1.22 million, but the median price of a new home fell by 5.7 percent to $215,700, indicating some cooling in demand.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.69 percent this week, up from 5.65 percent last week.
One-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.91 percent, up from 4.89 percent last week, pushing the one-year ARM to its highest level since the week ended April 26, 2002.
Rates on five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.63 percent this week, up from 5.59 percent last week.
The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The 30-year and 15-year mortgages both carried a nationwide average fee of 0.5 point, while the five-year ARM had an average fee of 0.6 point and the one-year ARM had an average fee of 0.7 point.
A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 5.64 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 5.01 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 3.96 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.
AWARDS . . . Dupont Commons, a $19 million, 147-townhouse community in Southeast Washington, was named best homeownership project in Affordable Housing Finance magazine's first Readers' Choice Awards for the nation's best affordable-housing developments. Dupont Commons replaced the old Fort Dupont public housing development. Residents include District employees, police officers and teachers, as well as lower-income people, including former residents. The developers were Washington Interfaith Network, Fort Dupont Resident Council, Enterprise Homes Inc. and Nehemiah Homes Inc. The development and other winners are to be featured in the November issue of the magazine.
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