Mortgage Rates Climb Reflecting Higher Bond Yields

Mortgage rates climbed this week as positive jobs data and increasing bond yields helped push the benchmark 30-year fixed rate up to 3.92 percent, from 3.88 percent the previous week, according to Freddie Mac.
However, the average 30-year fixed rate has been below 4 percent for 15 consecutive weeks. The all-time low of 3.87 percent was set last month.
Historically low mortgage rates and still declining home prices has resulted in rare home affordability.
“An upbeat employment report for February caused U.S. Treasury bond yields to increase over the week and mortgage rates followed,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.
The economy gained 227,000 jobs, higher than the market consensus forecast, and revisions added another 61,000 to January and December.
Job growth over the last six months has been the strongest since 2006.
Following its March 13th policy committee meeting, the Federal Reserve said it anticipates the unemployment rate will decline gradually toward levels that it judges to be consistent with its mandate to achieve “maximum employment with stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.”
The Fed held the benchmark federal funds rate at zero to .25 percent “at least through late 2014.”
Here is Freddie Mac’s overview of mortgage rates:

  • The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.92 percent, with an average 0.8 point, for the week ending March 15, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.76 percent.
  • The 15-year averaged 3.16 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.97 percent.
  • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.83 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.81 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.57 percent.
  • The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.79 percent, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.73 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.17 percent.

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