Rates on 30-year mortgages climbed to the highest level in 16 months this week, marking the fourth consecutive week they have been above 6 percent.
The nationwide average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose this week to 6.31 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday, up from 6.15 percent last week. It was the highest level since 30-year mortgages averaged 6.32 percent in June 2004.
Rates on all other types of mortgages were also up this week, reflecting growing nervousness in financial markets about inflation pressures, triggered in part by the better-than-expected 3.8 percent growth rate the economy turned in during the July-September quarter.
"The news of an economy growing at such a strong pace gave financial markets a jolt and added to the impetus that caused mortgage rates to rise again this week," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
The nation's housing market has been booming with sales of both new and existing homes expected to set records for the fifth consecutive year. But economists are forecasting that the sales pace will slow next year under the impact of higher mortgage rates.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.85 percent this week, up from 5.69 percent last week.
One-year adjustable rate mortgages rose to 5.09 percent, up from 4.91 percent last week, pushing the one-year ARM to its highest level in 31/2 years.
Rates on five-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.76 percent this week, up from 5.63 percent last week.
The nationwide averages for rates do not include add-on fees known as points. All four categories of loans carried a nationwide average fee of 0.5 point last week.
A year ago, 30-year loans averaged 5.70 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 5.08 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 4.0 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.
AWARDS . . . The Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association recently presented its annual awards. Rosenthal Homes of Potomac won builder of the year, small volume, less than 25 units a year; Mitchell & Best Homebuilders LLC of Rockville was builder of the year, medium volume, 25 to 100 units a year. Mid-Atlantic Builders Inc. of Rockville was builder of the year, large volume, 100 to 300 units a year. Builder of the year, high production, more than 300 units annually, was Miller and Smith Homes of McLean.
Elm Street Development of McLean won for developer of the year. TW Perry Inc., a building materials dealer based in Gaithersburg, was named subcontractor/supplier of the year.
Macris Hendricks & Glascock, PA, a Montgomery Village-based civil and environmental engineering, surveying and land-planning firm, was associate of the year.
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