Inflation Fears Send Mortgage Rates Higher

March 24, 2011 No Comments »

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Fears of inflation coupled with the many geopolitical concerns at the moment pushed mortgage rates higher this week, according to mortgage financier Freddie Mac.

The popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81 percent during the week ending March 24, up from 4.76 percent last week, but below the 4.99 percent average seen last year.

The 15-year fixed increased to 4.04 percent from 3.97 percent, and is 30 basis points below the 4.34 percent average of a year ago.

Meanwhile, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage inched up to 3.62 percent from 3.57 percent, and the one-year ARM climbed to 3.21 percent from 3.17 percent.

A year ago, the 5/1 averaged 4.14 percent and the one-year stood at 4.20 percent.

“Mortgage rates were up this week compared to last, but still remain at relatively low levels,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, in a release. “The rate uptick was related to higher than anticipated inflation data for February and ongoing geopolitical concerns.”

“The 12-month growth rate in the consumer price index rose 2.1 percent in February, compared to 1.6 percent in January; however, most of the increase was due to food and energy prices, which tend to be volatile. The core index rose 1.1 percent, slightly up from 1.0 percent in January.”

The interest rates above are good for conforming loan amounts at 80 percent loan-to-value; pricing adjustments may increase or lower the rate you ultimately receive, and mortgage points must also be paid.

Jumbo loans continue to price a half percentage point or more higher than conforming mortgages.

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