Mortgage Rates Rise Slightly on Stronger Housing Reports

26 January 2012

Mortgage Rates Rise Slightly on Stronger Housing Reports

26 January  2012

The Wall Street Journal

Rates for fixed mortgages moved higher over the past week amid positive signals from the long-suffering U.S. housing market, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates.

“Fixed mortgage rates ticked up this week as the housing market ended 2011 on a high note,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft, noting encouraging data like a report that existing home sales rose 5% at the end of the year to 4.61 million houses, the largest amount since May 2010.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.98% for the week ended Thursday, up from 3.88% the previous week, though below 4.8% a year ago. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.24%, up from 3.17% last week and below 4.09% a year earlier.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARM, averaged 2.85%, up from 2.82% last week and below 3.7% a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARM rates averaged 2.74%, matching the prior week and below 3.26% last year.

To obtain the rates, 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages required an average 0.7 percentage point and 0.8 percentage point payment, respectively. Five-year and one-year adjustable rate mortgages required an average 0.7 percentage point and 0.6 percentage point payment, respectively. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.