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Mortgage rates resume upward climb

(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Mortgage rates have resumed their upward climb, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

After a dip last week, the 30-year fixed-rate average returned to where it was two weeks ago, 4.37 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 4.28 percent last week and 3.63 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has risen four of the past five weeks.

Mortgage chart for March 13

The 15-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.38 percent with an average 0.6 point, nearly returning to where it had been two weeks ago. It was 3.32 percent a week ago and 2.79 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3.5 percent since Jan. 16.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average climbed to 3.09 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.03 percent a week ago and 2.61 percent year ago.

The one-year ARM average dropped to 2.48 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.52 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates edged up amid a week of light economic reports,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Of the few releases, the economy added 175,000 jobs in February, which was above the market consensus forecast and followed an upward revision of 25,000 jobs for the prior two months. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate nudged up to 6.7 percent, the first rate increase in over a year.”

The previous week’s uptick in mortgage applications also was short lived as they declined last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. After rising for the first time in three weeks, applications resumed their downward course.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, dropped 2.1 percent. The Refinance index fell 3 percent, while the Purchase Index slid down 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity declined to its lowest level since April 2011, accounting for 57 percent of all applications.

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.
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