Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mortgage rates hit high for 2015 so far

Mortgage rates edged higher for the second week in a row, reaching their highest levels this year as investors reacted to the latest developments in Greece while keeping their eyes on the Fed.

    The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.96 from 3.9 percent last week, according to the national survey of large lenders. One year ago, that rate was 4.49 percent. Four weeks ago, it was 3.81 percent. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.3 discount and origination points. Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.21 percent. This week's rate is 0.25 percentage points lower than that 52-week average.
    The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.21 percent from 3.17 percent.
    The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.31 percent from 3.32 percent.
    The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate jumbo rose to 4.11 percent from 4.1 percent.

Rates had risen slightly since the January employment report was released, showing that the labor market continues to grow.

"That got things rolling, but everything has snowballed since then," says Michael Becker, branch manager for Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Maryland, referring to other events that have put upward pressure on rates.
Blame Greece and watch Yellen

European stocks rallied on Feb. 18 as investors reacted to news that Greece was working on a potential agreement with its creditors. Hopeful investors seemed more willing to take their money out of safer investments such as U.S. Treasuries to bet on riskier investments. Whenever there is less demand for U.S. Treasury bonds, yields rise and mortgage rates tend to follow.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note reached a high of 2.16 percent on Feb. 18, after staying below 2 percent for several weeks.

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