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Mortgage rates climb for second consecutive week

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Mortgage rates ticked higher for the second straight week following consecutive weeks of decline, according to new data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average surged from 4.16 percent to 4.35 percent, with an average 0.7 point. It is up from 3.34 percent at this point last year and has remained about 4 percent since the end of June.

The 15-year average edged up more modestly, from 3.27 percent last week to 3.35 percent, also with an average 0.7 point. One year ago, those mortgages averaged 2.65 percent.

The five-year hybrid adjustable-rate average rounded out the increases, sliding up to 3.01 percent from 2.96 percent. The one-year hybrids held steady last week at an average of 2.61 percent, and both hybrid averages are up marginally compared to this time last year.

Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, pinned the rise to better-than-expected employment numbers for October.

“Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following stronger than expected economic data releases,” he said in a statement. “Nonfarm payrolls increased by 204,000 in October, above the consensus forecast. In addition, revisions added 60,000 additional jobs to the prior two month releases.”

Nothaft noted that the Department of Commerce’s preliminary GDP growth estimates for the third quarter also topped expectations, signaling a strengthening economy and pushing the rates slightly higher.

On Wednesday, meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the number of mortgage applications slid last week, down 1.8 percent from last week. That is the second straight week of decline, though last week’s tumble was revised from a 7.0-percent drop to a more modest 2.8-percent drop.

MBA’s Refinance Index also decreased 2 percent from the previous week, while its Purchase Index inched down 1 percent.


J.D. Harrison covers startups, small business and entrepreneurship, with a focus on public policy, and he runs the On Small Business blog.



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