Mortgage rates increased this week after the Fed, which raises its federal funds rate to 4.75 percent on Tuesday, said more increases may be needed to control inflation, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.
In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched up to an average 6.35 percent for the week ended today, up from last week’s average of 6.32 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed is 6 percent, up from last week’s average of 5.97 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.5.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 6.02 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.96 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.51 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.41 percent.
“The Fed raised rates this week, as was expected, but the market was a little surprised at the Committee’s comments, which implied more tightening in the future,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “That raised the expectation that inflation may be more of a threat than was previously thought, and that kind of thinking promotes upward pressure on mortgage rates like we saw across the board this week.”
In Bankrate.com’s survey, fixed mortgage rates increased, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising to 6.44 percent, with an average of 0.38 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing increased to 6.12 percent, the highest point since June 2002, according to Bankrate.com. The average jumbo 30-year fixed-rate jumped from 6.56 percent to 6.64 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages are also on the rise, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rising from 6.04 percent to 6.13 percent, and the average one-year ARM notching higher to 5.77 percent.
Mortgage rates increased following the Federal Reserve’s 15th interest-rate hike since June 2004, Bankrate.com reported. The repeated interest-rate hikes continue to consistently push adjustable mortgage rates higher. On the other hand, fixed mortgage rates didn’t increase because of the Fed rate hike, but because of what the Fed said in the post-meeting release. While some of the Fed’s cast has changed, most notably Chairman Ben Bernanke taking over for Alan Greenspan, and some of the words in the statement changed, the message was much the same as in January. In fact, in one key paragraph, the Fed retained the exact language used by the Greenspan-led Fed in January, saying “some further policy firming may be needed.” The bond market did not greet such an announcement warmly, with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes instantly moving higher, now the highest since June 2004. 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 – 6.42 percent with 0.22 point
Los Angeles – 6.47 percent with 0.54 point
Chicago – 6.59 percent with 0.08 point
San Francisco – 6.51 percent with 0.34 point
Philadelphia – 6.33 percent with 0.55 point
Detroit – 6.52 percent with no points
Boston – 6.45 percent with 0.2 point
Houston – 6.43 percent with 0.61 point
Dallas – 6.44 percent with 0.53 point
Washington, D.C. – 6.29 percent with 0.74 point