Mortgage rates have surged upwards for the second consecutive week in response to better-than-expected economic reports, particularly in the growth of private-sector jobs.
“Fixed mortgage rates increased this week following stronger-than-expected economic data releases,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.
“Private companies added 215,000 new jobs in November according to the ADP employment report, well above the consensus. In addition, revisions added 54,000 jobs in the prior month.”
The average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages rose to 4.46 percent this week, up from 4.29 percent last week, according to the latest Freddie Mac mortgage survey. The average was 4.16 percent a month ago and 3.34 percent a year ago. The 30-year-fixed average has not surpassed 4.5 percent since late September.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage also saw a sharp increase this week, climbing to 3.47 percent from 3.30 percent last week. The 15-year-fixed average was 3.27 percent a month ago and 2.67 percent a year ago.
In addition to the positive economic data, Nothaft reported an uptick in home sales during October.
“[N]ew home sales rose 25 percent in the month of October to a seasonally adjusted 444,000 annual pace, though this followed a weaker-than-expected September report and downward revisions over the summer months,” Nothaft said.
The increase in home sales is a sign that, despite the recent increase in rates, fixed-rate mortgage loans remain affordable for many home buyers.
Averages on hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage loans were mixed. The five-year ARM saw a slight increase of 0.05 percentage point over the last week and settled at 2.99 percent. The one-year ARM fell by 0.01 percentage point to 2.59 percent.
In the latest Mortgage Rate Trend Index by Bankrate.com, 55 percent of the loan experts polled said they expected mortgage rates will continue to climb.
“I believe that rates are likely to rise in the coming week as solid employment data are likely perceived as increasing the chances of the Fed making a December tapering announcement,” opined John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services.
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