NEW YORK, NY - Mortgage rates increased for a third consecutive week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 3.74 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.32 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage climbed to 2.97 percent, while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate held steady at 3.99 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mixed, with the 1-year adjustable sliding to 2.95 percent, the popular 5-year ARM notching higher to 2.70 percent and the 7-year ARM remaining at 2.87 percent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that, for now, the Fed's bond-buying activities will continue. The Fed has been buying $85 billion in long-term bonds each month in an effort to keep a lid on mortgage rates, among other things. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government and mortgage-backed bonds. While the job market has shown improvement, the Fed wants to make sure the improvement is sustained, opting to maintain the stimulus rather than pulling the plug too soon.
The last time mortgage rates were above 5 percent was Apr. 2011. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 5.07 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,082.22. With the average rate currently at 3.74 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $925.10, a difference of $157 per month for anyone refinancing now.
30-year fixed: 3.74% -- up from 3.71% last week (avg. points: 0.32)
15-year fixed: 2.97% -- up from 2.92% last week (avg. points: 0.31)
5/1 ARM: 2.70% -- up from 2.68% last week (avg. points: 0.23)
Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.
For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to www.bankrate.com
The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Nearly half of respondents don't expect much change in mortgage rates over the coming week, with 46 percent forecasting that mortgage rates will remain more or less unchanged. Thirty-one percent expect mortgage rates to decline, while the remaining 23 percent predict an increase in mortgage rates over the next seven days.