Releases Mortgage Rates Update - Big Jump in Interest Rates

Share Article reports on this week's mortgage interest rate activity, including analysis on what is affecting interest rates today and what consumers can expect in the days and weeks to come.

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This week mortgage interest rates had the largest increase on record for 2012. The mortgage rate report found that the strengthening economy and signs of increasing inflation have moved mortgage rates upward significantly since last week. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose 14 basis points while the 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose 10 basis points.

Current interest rates are:

         4.29% - average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage
         3.48% - average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage

Last week reports showed that consumers are spending more, despite price increases. Amidst talk of controlling potential future inflation, it is expected that interest rates would inch upward. However, this week's jump was far higher than many analysts were expecting. The improving economy could be a double-edged sword for buyers that were holding out expecting interest rates to hold.

This week is all about housing news, which of course will likely affect mortgage interest rates. There was also employment news which also greatly affects the housing market overall. Here's what was reported this week.

  •     Tuesday: February Housing Starts report
  •     Wednesday: February Existing Home Sales report
  •     Thursday: Unemployment Applications report
  •     Friday: February New Home Sales report

The Housing Starts report was mixed, with the actual number of housing starts in February down 1.1% since last month but the number of building permits up 5.1%. Despite the month-to-month drop housing starts were up 34.7% from the same time last year. Home builder sentiment remains high, showing that they firmly believe the housing market will continue to improve well into 2012.

The NAR February Existing Home Sales also held good news for real estate agents and other industry professionals. Much like the Housing Starts report, existing home sales were slightly down from last month but were up 8.8% higher than February 2011. Just as important the report found that inventory levels are down and median sales price rose slightly.

Though builders are confident this month's New Home Sales report wasn't overly encouraging. New home sales were down 1.6%, which economists had predicted would actually increase slightly. Competition from affordable existing homes is expected to keep sales of new homes modest.

As far as people being able to afford to buy homes and become qualified for mortgage loans, the weekly unemployment applications report suggest that number could be going up. Last week the number of applications was at a 4 year low at 348,000.

Given the significant increase in mortgage interest rates this week and the mixed news on the housing market, is forecasting that mortgage rates will likely move sideways or possible drop a few basis points by this time next week.

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Ace Elliott
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