Mortgage rates inched higher for the second consecutive week, as last week’s employment report calmed fears of an economic downturn, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.66 percent for the week ended today, up slightly from last week when it averaged 5.62 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 5.25 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.2 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.15 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when they averaged 5.19 percent. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 4.39 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when they averaged 4.33 percent.

“Over the past few weeks, financial markets have been gearing up for greater growth in the economy, which ultimately leads to higher inflation rates. As a result, mortgage rates increased for the second straight week. Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages now match those set in mid-May, but are still below January’s monthly average,” said Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.

“As a matter of fact, since Freddie Mac began tracking the 30-year mortgage rate in 1971, it has averaged 9.4 percent, and since 2000 it’s averaged 6.6 percent. Given that, today’s rates appear to be quite attractive and should continue to support a vibrant housing market.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates climbed for the second week in a row as a lukewarm employment report dispelled fears of both an economic slowdown and higher inflation. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed from 5.7 percent to 5.76 percent, according to Bankrate.com. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.39 discount and origination points.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing ascended to 5.36 percent from 5.29 percent, Bankrate.com reported. The average rate for the jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit the 6 percent mark, rising from 5.95 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage jumping from 5.27 percent to 5.35 percent, while the one-year ARM dipped to 4.71 percent from 4.76 percent one week ago.

The monthly employment report issued July 8 showed moderate job growth in the month of June. While this type of report would not normally cause interest rates to rise, it did reinforce the notion of the “Goldilocks economy,” one that is not too hot, but not too cold either. With things not as bad as the pessimists thought but not as strong as the optimists predicted, there were fewer fears about an economic downturn or potentially higher labor costs that would induce inflation. In response to both, bond investors sold long-term Treasury securities. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes have climbed from 3.94 percent to 4.16 percent since the Fed raised rates for the ninth time on June 30, pushing mortgage rates up in each of the past two weeks.

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

New York – 5.76 percent with 0.18 point

Los Angeles – 5.82 percent with 0.59 point

Chicago – 5.91 percent with 0.02 point

San Francisco – 5.82 percent with 0.33 point

Philadelphia – 5.59 percent with 0.61 point

Detroit – 5.79 percent with 0.25 point

Boston – 5.83 percent with 0.1 point

Houston – 5.7 percent with 0.75 point

Dallas – 5.77 percent with 0.57 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.65 percent with 0.51 point

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