Rates Rise

30-year fixed-rate mortgage rises to 3.92%

Economic report causes bond yields to increase, mortgages follow

 

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Mortgage rates rose this week, after an upbeat economic report caused U.S. Treasury yields to increase, Freddie Mac’s chief economist said Thursday.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.92% for the week ending March 15, up from 3.88% last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates. The mortgage carried an average 4.76% rate a year ago. It’s been below 4% for 15 weeks in a row.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%, up from 3.13% last week. The mortgage averaged 3.97% a year ago.

Meanwhile, 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.83%, up from 2.81% last week. The ARM averaged 3.57% a year ago.

And 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.79% this week, up from 2.73% last week. The ARM averaged 3.17% a year ago.

To obtain the rates, the fixed-rate mortgages and the 5-year ARM required payment of an average 0.8 point, while the 1-year ARM required payment of an average 0.6 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.

A favorable employment report for February issued March 9 led to the boost in mortgage rates, said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, in a news release.

“The economy gained 227,000 jobs, above the market consensus forecast, and revisions added another 61,000 to January and December. Job growth over the last six months was the strongest since 2006,” Nothaft said. Read more on latest growth in U.S. nonfarm payrolls.

The Federal Reserve also announced this week “that 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,” he said. Read more on the Fed, the economy and U.S. interest-rate policy.

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