Mortgage rates jumped for the second consecutive week in anticipation of a healthier jobs report tomorrow, according to surveys conducted by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.52 percent, with an average 0.6 point, for the week ended today, up from last week when it averaged 5.4 percent.

The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 4.84 percent, up from last week when it averaged 4.7 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.46 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from 3.36 percent last week.

“In advance of what is hoped will be a strong jobs report tomorrow, bond yields rose this week and, predictably, so did mortgage rates,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. “The economy has been conducive to job gains for several months, but we have yet to see any significant rise in employment.

“But even with rates slightly higher, the housing industry will continue to be an active, solid sector of the economy going into the spring buying season. We don’t foresee any major slowdown in the housing market this year. Quite the contrary, we are confident 2004 will be another banner year for home sales.

Mortgage rates jumped this week, but still ended the month of March lower than when the month began. This week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 5.46 percent to 5.6 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.37 discount and origination points.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing climbed by a similar amount, from 4.75 percent to 4.89 percent. The jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed 13 basis points to 5.79 percent and the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased by a more modest seven basis points to 3.54 percent. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percentage point.

While weak job growth depressed mortgage rates–and kept them there throughout the month–rates climbed this week in anticipation of better news from the April 2 employment report. Hopes of long-awaited job growth finally materializing had some bond investors unwinding Treasury positions ahead of the release. Their sell-off pushed bond prices lower and yields up. Mortgage rates are closely related to long-term government bond yields. However, this week’s run-up in mortgage rates could be quickly erased if the employment report falls short of expectations.

The following is a sampling of Bankrate’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas.

New York – 5.64 percent with 0.06 point

Los Angeles – 5.59 percent with 0.66 point

Chicago – 5.74 percent with 0.1 point

San Francisco – 5.63 percent with 0.47 point

Philadelphia – 5.63 percent with 0.14 point

Detroit – 5.43 percent with 0.5 point

Boston – 5.66 percent with 0.03 point

Houston – 5.59 percent with 0.63 point

Dallas – 5.56 percent with 0.67 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.54 percent with 0.43 point

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