The four week streak of falling mortgage rates ended this week, according to surveys released Thursday by ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and ""Bankrate."":http://www.bankrate.com/ Despite this slight increase, mortgage rates remain relatively stable and are notably lower than rates this time last year.[IMAGE]
For the week ending February 4, 2010, Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) found that the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages jumped to 5.01 percent with an average 0.7 point. While this week's average rate was up slightly from last week's 4.98 percent, it was still significantly lower than the same week in 2009 when rates averaged 5.25 percent.
The story was the same for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. According to the PMMS, the rate for 15-year fixed mortgages this week averaged 4.4 percent with an average 0.7 point, inching up 0.01 week-to-week. However, the average rate was down 0.52 percent year-to-year.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""Mortgage rates remained relatively stable for a second week amid news of a strengthening housing market,"" said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.
Although the figures differed, Bankrate reported the same pattern of climbing mortgage rates in its weekly national survey, which is conducted from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.
The survey found that the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages was 5.15 percent this week with an average 0.49 point, up from 5.13 percent last week. In addition, the rate for 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.55 percent with a 0.45 point, nudging up from last week's average rate of 4.54 percent.
Like Freddie Mac, Bankrate also noted that mortgage rates were up only slightly this week considering the type of upbeat economic news that can push rates up more noticeably. The lingering uncertainty about the strength and sustainability of the economic recovery is continuing to hold mortgage rates in check, Bankrate said.
As the housing market begins to show signs of stabilization, will mortgage rates continue to increase? Bankrate's weekly survey is complemented by its weekly Rate Trend Index, in which mortgage experts predict which way rates are headed over the next week. According to the index, 47 percent of panelists expect mortgage rates to remain unchanged over the next week, 40 percent predict an increase, and just 13 percent forecast a decline.