(Freddie Mac)

Mortgage rates moved higher for the second week in a row, according to the latest data released Thursday by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Last week’s better-than-expected employment report helped drive Treasury yields higher, and that pushed the popular 30-year fixed home-loan rates to their highest level in a month.


After falling for eight straight weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate average wandered upward again this week, rising to 3.68 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.64 percent a week ago, and 3.86 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average inched up to 2.96 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.94 percent a week ago, and 3.1 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has remained below 3 percent for five weeks.

The five-year adjustable rate average rose to 2.92 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.84 percent a week ago, and 3.01 percent a year ago. The five-year ARM has remained below 3 percent for the past two months.

“The 10-year Treasury yield ended the survey week exactly where it started, however the solid February employment report boosted the yield noticeably on Friday and Monday,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.

“Our mortgage rate survey captured the impact of this temporary increase in yield, and the 30-year mortgage rate rose 4 basis points to 3.68 percent. This marks the second increase this year.  Nonetheless, the mortgage rate remains 33 basis points lower than its end-of-2015 level.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications were flat, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — edged up 0.2 percent from the previous week. The refinance index slipped 2 percent, while the purchase index rose 6 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 56.7 percent of all applications.

Mortgage credit availability remained unchanged. The mortgage credit availability index, a monthly report released last week by the MBA, held steady at 123.8 for February. A decline in the index indicates lending standards are tightening, while increases suggest loosening credit.