Mortgage Rates Climb for Third Straight Week
Home-loan interest moved north for a third consecutive week, according to Freddie Mac. The mortgage financier reported the 30-year rate at 6.18 percent, up from 6.13 percent last week but still a far cry from this year's high of 6.8 percent set in July.
Rates for 15-year fixed products, meanwhile, climbed to 5.93 percent from 5.89 percent; while five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages bumped up to 5.98 percent from 5.96 percent. One-year ARMs also rose to 5.47 percent from 5.44 percent.
The recent upward pattern follows a sustained period of lower rates that helped precipitate a comeback in new- and existing-home sales. "The lower mortgage rates in November and early December are giving the housing market a bit of relief at year's end," says Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft, who also notes that recent favorable reports on consumer spending and home sales suggest that the worst of the residential property slump is over.
The market data also is being interpreted by the financial community as a sign that the Federal Reserve will not move quickly to lower rates early next year to prop up a softening economy. Many economists speculate, in fact, that the Fed will keep rates in a holding pattern until mid-2007.
Source: Baltimore Sun (12/29/06) © Copyright 2006 Information Inc.