Mortgage Rates Around the Country Rise
WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates around the country rose
this week amid speculation on Wall Street about when the Federal Reserve may begin
to push up short-term interest rates.
The average rate on 30-year mortgages
increased to 5.68 percent, up from 5.64 percent last week, Freddie Mac, the mortgage
giant, said Thursday in its weekly nationwide survey of mortgage rates.
on 30-year mortgages have bounced around after sinking to a four-decade low of
5.21 percent in the middle of June.
For 15-year mortgages, a popular option
for refinancing, rates rose to 4.97 percent this week, up from 4.95 percent last
week. Rates for one-year adjustable mortgages increased to 3.59 percent compared
to 3.56 percent last week.
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues
on Wednesday decided to hold a main short-term interest rate at a 45-year low
of 1 percent, but they dropped a pledge to keep rates at near rock-bottom levels
for a "considerable period." That prompted investors on Wall Street to believe
that rates would move up sooner than they previously thought.
rates were basically unchanged leading up to the (Fed's) announcement that opened
the door to the possibility the Fed would raise rates sooner than expected," said
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. "Following the policy statement,
bond yields shot up, taking mortgage rates with them, raising the prospect that
mortgage rates will be even higher next week," he said.
averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year
and 15-year mortgages each carried an average fee of 0.7 point this week, while
one-year ARMs carried an average fee of 0.6 point.
A year ago, rates on
30-year mortgages averaged 5.90 percent, 15-year mortgages were 5.28 percent and
one-year adjustable mortgages stood at 3.89 percent.
Home sales reached
record high levels in 2003 powered by low mortgage rates that proved too good
for buyers to pass up. Economists predict home sales will slow this year as mortgage
rates creep up.