Mortgage rates gained this week on the Federal Reserve’s belief that inflation could still pose a problem, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported today.
In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed to an average 6.21 percent from last week’s 6.15 percent, while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 5.87 percent to 5.92 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.
Borrowing costs on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were mixed, as the five-year Treasury-indexed ARM grew from 5.89 percent to 5.92 percent while the one-year ARM held at 5.48 percent. Points on these loans averaged 0.6 and 0.7, respectively.
“Mortgage rates inched up this week following the Federal Open Market Committee statement reiterating that the predominant concern remains the risk that inflation will fail to moderate as expected,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “However, as long as core inflation continues to trend downward and economic growth remains subpar it is unlikely that we will see any big movement in mortgage rates.”
“Recent indicators point to continued weakness in the housing market, with the bottom of the cycle still months away. There are signs that house sales are stabilizing and excess inventories beginning to come under control, but building permits continue to be weak and condo sales are soft in a number of markets.”
Nothaft said the only good news from the housing market came from the National Association of Realtors, which reported first-quarter existing-home sales were up 2.4 percent from the final quarter of 2006, and the Mortgage Bankers Association, which reported the “average pace of mortgage applications for home purchase over the first two weeks in May was the strongest since January 2006.”
In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates increased slightly this week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 6.32 percent — the same point where it rested on Valentine’s Day. Discount and origination points on the 30-year loans averaged 0.26.
The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular for refinancing, rose to 6.05 percent, according to Bankrate.com. With larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate nudged higher to 6.56 percent. On adjustable-rate mortgages, the average 5/1 ARM jumped up to 6.24 percent, while the average one-year ARM held at 6.05 percent.
Bankrate.com reported that over the last three months mortgage rates have remained in a very narrow range, owing to a static interest-rate environment. Even the release of several inflation indicators, plus the latest data on retail sales, the housing market and a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in the past seven days, barely fazed mortgage rates and Treasury yields.
Fixed mortgage rates are notably lower than last summer when the Fed last raised interest rates, Bankrate.com reported. At the time, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate peaked at 6.93 percent, and a $165,000 loan carried a monthly payment of $1,090. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.32 percent, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,023.
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 – 6.3 percent with 0.08 point
Los Angeles – 6.35 percent with 0.43 point
Chicago – 6.41 percent with 0.04 point
San Francisco – 6.25 percent with 0.51 point
Philadelphia – 6.36 percent with 0.15 point
Detroit – 6.37 percent with 0.03 point
Boston – 6.4 percent with 0.03 point
Houston – 6.28 percent with 0.44 point
Dallas – 6.22 percent with 0.47 point
Washington, D.C. – 6.26 percent with 0.43 point