Mortgage Rates: Biggest Jump Since August; 30-Year at 4.39%

Mortgage ratesThe key 30-year fixed mortgage rate bounced off a record low to its highest level since early August, although long-term rates have remained below 5 percent for seven months.
Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed jumped to 4.39 percent this week, from last week’s record low of 4.17 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 4.83 percent.
The 15-year fixed rate also bounced off its new low: 3.76 percent from last week’s 3.57 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.32 percent.
Both long-term rates made uncharacteristic sharp increases after weeks of either setting new lows, or nudging slightly upward.
Somewhat positive economic signs helped reverse the trend in mortgage rates, at least for now, according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
“Retail sales rose by nearly twice the consensus in October and represented the strongest gain since March,” Nothaft said. “Moreover, consumer sentiment, as measured by the University of Michigan, ticked up in November to the highest level since June.”
The housing market is showing some potential gains, he said.
“Although new construction on one-family homes dipped 1.1 percent in October, homebuilder confidence rose in November to the strongest level since June, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index,” Nothaft said.
Median house prices registered positive annual growth in 77 out of 155 metropolitan areas in the third quarter of this year, with 11 reporting double-digit increases, according the National Association of Realtors
Only 30 cities saw positive annual gains in the third quarter of 2009.
Adjustable short-term rates showed mixed results, Freddie Mac reported.
The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.40 percent this week, up from last week when it averaged 3.25 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.25 percent.
The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.26 percent this week, unchanged from last week when it also averaged 3.26 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 4.35 percent.

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