Long-term mortgage rates increased for the fourth consecutive week as high energy costs continued to spread inflation jitters, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.98 percent for the week ended today, up from last week’s average of 5.91 percent. This is the highest the 30-year fixed has been since March 31 when it averaged 6.04 percent.

The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 5.54 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.48 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.5.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.48 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.44 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 4.77 percent, with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.68 percent.

“Mortgage rates have been rising for the last four weeks on inflation jitters caused in part by extended high energy costs. Still we need more concrete data to predict the direction of the national economy, including mortgage rates,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. 

“That said, we do think that the economy will continue to grow, albeit at perhaps a slightly slower pace than in the recent past. Mortgage rates will most likely continue to rise with the expansion of the economy.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates climbed for the fourth consecutive week, and are now the highest since March 30. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped from 5.97 percent to 6.07 percent, Bankrate.com reported. The 30- year fixed rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.39 discount and origination points.

Bankrate.com reported that the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate increased as well, rising from 5.58 percent to 5.67 percent, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed-rate rose to 6.22 percent from 6.13 percent last week. Adjustable-rate mortgages also moved slightly higher, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage bounding higher from 5.59 percent to 5.69 percent, while the average one-year ARM zipped from 4.95 percent to 5.04 percent.

Fixed mortgage rates have climbed in recent weeks, led primarily by concerns over higher inflation, according to Bankrate.com. Prices of all goods and services are at risk of rising due to higher oil and energy prices. The prospect for higher “core” inflation, which excludes volatile energy costs, is keeping the Federal Open Market Committee focused on inflation. Bond investors have had an uneasy feeling in recent weeks, with long-term government bond yields moving higher to account for higher inflation forecasts and further Fed interest rate hikes. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on Treasury securities.

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

New York – 6.03 percent with 0.23 point

Los Angeles – 6.11 percent with 0.6 point

Chicago – 6.13 percent with 0.04 point

San Francisco – 6.15 percent with 0.34 point

Philadelphia – 5.98 percent with 0.32 point

Detroit – 6.03 percent with 0.25 point

Boston – 6.11 percent with 0.1 point

Houston – 6.11 percent with 0.75 point

Dallas – 6.11 percent with 0.59 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.96 percent with 0.64 point

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