Although mortgage rates were up only slightly this week, tomorrow’s labor market report should provide a better idea of where interest rates are headed, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported today in their weekly surveys.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to an average 6.17 percent from last week’s 6.16 percent, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage gained from 5.86 percent to 5.87 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30-year and 0.5 on the 15-year loans.

Freddie Mac reported that the average rates on adjustable loans also increased this week, with the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM rising to 5.92 percent and the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM growing to 5.44 percent.

“Mortgage rates have remained within a narrow band of 0.1 percentage points over every week in March,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “This relative stability is due to mixed economic data releases as to how strong the economy is and whether future inflation will recede. One bright spot this week came from an unexpected increase in pending home sales for February, which suggests the housing market is still healthy.”

Nothaft said “further insight into the current state of the economy” will be gained upon release of the March employment report and producer price index.

In Bankrate.com’s survey, fixed mortgage rates moved higher across the board this week, with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising to 6.25 percent, and discount and origination points averaging 0.27.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing increased to 5.97 percent, according to Bankrate.com, while on larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate grew slightly to 6.52 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages stepped up, with the average 5/1 ARM climbing to 6.12 percent and the average one-year ARM gaining to 5.97 percent.

Bankrate.com said that although mortgage rates nudged higher for the third consecutive week, they are still stuck within the same narrow range they’ve been in for most of the year. The economy hasn’t shown enough signs of either strength or weakness to give rates a hard shove in either direction. This week, unease over Iran probably had a hand in pushing rates upward a bit, Bankrate.com said. Thursday’s jobless report has a better chance of making them move strongly.

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 – 6.21 percent with 0.08 point

Los Angeles – 6.26 percent with 0.39 point

Chicago – 6.36 percent with 0.05 point

San Francisco – 6.2 percent with 0.46 point

Philadelphia – 6.23 percent with 0.27 point

Detroit – 6.37 percent with 0.03 point

Boston – 6.31 percent with 0.09 point

Houston – 6.26 percent with 0.42 point

Dallas – 6.16 percent with 0.45 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.19 percent with 0.49 point

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