Mortgage rates inched higher for the third consecutive week, according to surveys conducted this week by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.24 percent for the week ended today, up from last week’s average of 6.23 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 5.83 percent, up from last week’s average of 5.81 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.89 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.87 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.34 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.33 percent.

“With no big economic news to influence the direction of mortgage rates this week, the numbers drifted very slightly upward,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “We see this trend continuing throughout 2006, with the 30-year (fixed-rate mortgage) ending the year at about 6.3 percent as the housing market eases back from last year’s record-setting levels toward a somewhat more normal rate of activity.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, both fixed and adjustable mortgage rates increased for the third consecutive week, with adjustable-rate mortgages posting the most significant changes. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 6.28 percent to 6.32 percent, according to Bankrate.com. The 30-year fixed rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.35 discount and origination points.

Bankrate.com reported that the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate climbed from 5.87 percent to 5.95 percent, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed-rate inched higher from 6.49 percent to 6.51 percent. But adjustable-rate mortgages were the big movers, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rising from 5.89 percent to 5.99 percent, and the average one-year ARM moving from 5.56 percent to 5.63 percent.

Adjustable mortgage rates moved higher as inflation worries boosted the odds of additional Fed interest rate hikes, according to Bankrate.com. Fixed mortgage rates moved slightly higher due to a busy week of debt issuance by the U.S. Treasury. The Treasury is in the midst of a three-day, $48 billion auction of government securities that will include the first 30-year government bond auction in nearly five years. The additional supply depresses bond prices and lifts bond yields. Fixed mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

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

New York – 6.28 percent with 0.18 point

Los Angeles – 6.36 percent with 0.5 point

Chicago – 6.44 percent with 0.16 point

San Francisco – 6.41 percent with 0.31 point

Philadelphia – 6.25 percent with 0.27 point

Detroit – 6.37 percent with no points

Boston – 6.35 percent with 0.06 point

Houston – 6.3 percent with 0.67 point

Dallas – 6.33 percent with 0.57 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.13 percent with 0.75 point

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