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Freddie Mac says mortgage rates rise for fifth straight week

December 16, 2010 |  8:07 am

Anthony Hsieh, the entrepreneurial mortgage banker who now heads, thinks the 30-year home loan rate will settle into the 5% range during the coming year -- sometimes rising to perhaps 5.25%, sometimes falling to 4.75%.

That raises the question of how quickly typical rates might break that 5% barrier, after dropping this fall to the point at which a few homeowners willing to pay a few upfront points were able to lock in 30-year loans at less than 4%.

Maybe the answer will be sooner rather than later.

Mtgrate Freddie Mac says the typical rate for a 30-year loan jumped from 4.61% last week to 4.83% this week. The rate (charted at left) reflects what lenders said they were offering to well-qualified borrowers with 20% down payments or equivalent home equity who paid 0.7% of the loan amount in upfront fees.

Similar borrowers seeking 15-year loans were being offered mortgages at an average of 4.17%, up from 3.96% a week earlier. Start rates for adjustable mortgages were rising as well, according to Freddie Mac, one of the government-controlled companies that back nearly every home loan written these days.

While Freddie Mac's quoted rates are generally a bit higher than those obtainable by solid borrowers who shop around, the trend higher is pronounced at this point. Check out the history of the survey as posted at this site.

Fixed mortgage rates have been rising now for five straight weeks in the survey. And as reported here Wednesday, investors are cashing out of fixed-income mutual funds -- a sure sign the market is demanding higher yields on bond investments, which translates into higher mortgage rates.

-- E. Scott Reckard