30-year mortgage rates inch over 5%
McLEAN, Va. - Rates on 30-year mortgages rose above 5 percent this week, ending a five-week run at record low levels, Freddie Mac reported yesterday.
Mortgage rates have been in decline since the Federal Reserve said in late November it would buy up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities to get banks to lend more money in hopes of bolstering the troubled US housing market.
Freddie Mac reported that average rates on 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 5.12 percent this week from a record low of 4.96 percent last week. At this time last year, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 5.48 percent.
Last week's mark of 4.96 percent was the lowest since Freddie Mac started its survey in April 1971, Freddie Mac said.
The lower rates also kick-started mortgage refinancing activity. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said refinancing applications totaled about 86 percent of all conventional loans in the first three weeks of 2009. Nothaft said this week's rise in average mortgage rates followed increases in bond yields.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.8 percent, from 4.65 percent last week.
Average rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 5.24 percent, their lowest level since the week ended Sept. 8, 2005, Freddie Mac said. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.92 percent from 4.89 percent last week.