Mortgage rates rose for the ninth consecutive week as a large increase in hourly wages fueled inflation fears, according to surveys conducted this week by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.36 percent for the week ended today, up from last week’s average of 6.31 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 5.89 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.85 percent. Points on the 30-year averaged 0.5, while those on the 15-year averaged 0.6.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.81 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.76 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.12 percent, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.09 percent.

“News that wages grew faster than had been expected in October reinforced fears of inflation in the financial markets, and that bumped up interest rates again this week,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist. “Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index figures due out next week will help to confirm or deny whether market concerns are warranted.

“According to our most recent economic outlook, we expect rates to continue to rise gradually over the next 12 or so months. Because the housing sector is so sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates, this will have the effect of returning the housing sector to a more normal pace of activity, by historical standards.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates continued to climb, with fixed-rate mortgages reaching the highest level since Sept. 2003. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 6.37 percent to 6.42 percent, according to Bankrate.com. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.32 discount and origination points.

Bankrate.com reported that the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate increased as well, rising from 5.91 percent to 5.96 percent, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed-rate climbed to 6.6 percent from 6.54 percent last week. Adjustable-rate mortgages followed suit, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage notching higher from 5.9 percent to 5.94 percent, while the average one-year ARM bounded higher from 5.35 percent to 5.44 percent.

Inflation concerns continue to push mortgage rates higher, Bankrate.com reported, and the monthly employment report released Nov. 4 showed a surprising jump in average hourly wages, which fueled further inflation fears. Inflation threatens to erode the fixed payments that bondholders receive, so bond yields and mortgage rates increased. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

After defying predictions for so long, fixed mortgage rates have increased significantly since the beginning of September. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate on Sept. 7 was 5.8 percent, according to Bankrate.com, meaning that the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $968. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.42 percent, the same loan would now carry a payment of $1,034. Failing to lock in a mortgage rate two months ago results in a monthly payment increase of $66 per month, and would amount to additional interest costs of nearly $23,800 over the loan term.

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

New York – 6.39 percent with 0.2 point

Los Angeles – 6.46 percent with 0.49 point

Chicago – 6.48 percent with 0.05 point

San Francisco – 6.52 percent with 0.2 point

Philadelphia – 6.31 percent with 0.31 point

Detroit – 6.43 percent with 0.25 point

Boston – 6.4 percent with 0.1 point

Houston – 6.43 percent with 0.5 point

Dallas – 6.45 percent with 0.4 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.28 percent with 0.73 point

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