Rates for all mortgage loan products headed higher this week as positive employment indicators rolled in, with job growth over the last six months the strongest it's been since 2006. That, coupled with the Greek debt restructuring on the international front and the results of the Federal Reserve's stress tests pointing to a stronger financial banking system, boosted investor confidence and drove bond yields higher.
""An upbeat employment report for February caused U.S. Treasury bond yields to increase over the week and mortgage rates followed,"" according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
The GSE reports the average rate for a 30-year conforming mortgage at 3.92 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending March 15, up from 3.88 percent last week. Despite the increase, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been below 4.00 percent for 15 consecutive
weeks in Freddie Mac's study, helping to keep homebuyer affordability high. The GSE averages rate data from 125 lenders across the country.
Bankrate's study zeros in on rate quotes from the 10 largest lenders in the 10 largest markets. That analysis put the 30-year rate at an average of 4.15 percent (0.40 point) this week, up from 4.11 percent last week.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage stepped up from 3.34 percent last week to 3.38 percent (0.33 point), according to Bankrate, while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to a three-month high of 4.73 percent, soaring 10 basis points from 4.63 percent last week.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were mostly higher as well in Bankrate's study, with the average 5-year ARM rising to 3.14 percent (0.33 point) and the 7-year ARM climbing to 3.33 percent.
Freddie Mac's study found the 15-year fixed mortgage averaging 3.16 percent (0.8 point) this week, up from 3.13 percent last week.
The GSE reports the average rate for a 5-year ARM to have ascended 2 basis points to 2.83 percent (0.8 point) this week, and the 1-year ARM posting a 6 basis point increase to 2.79 percent (0.6 point).
Dan Green is a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati and a regular blogger on issues affecting the housing market, and mortgage rates in particular. He says rates have been low because of the weak U.S. economy and with the economy now showing signs of strengthening, we should expect mortgage rates to continue to rise.