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Long-term interest rates hold steady

Feb. 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An upward trend in long-term U.S. mortgage rates stalled for the third consecutive week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said Thursday.

Long-term interest rates hit record lows in the week of Nov. 12. They have moved higher since then, but have remained unchanged now for three consecutive weeks.

In the latest week, interest rates for 30-year loans held at 3.53 percent in the week with an average of 0.8 point, Freddie Mac said.

One point is equal to 1 percent of the amount of the loan and is typically paid up front. It includes a corresponding discount on the loan's long-term interest rates.

Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate loans were at 3.87 percent in the same week a year earlier.

Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate loans held at 2.77 percent with an average 0.7 points. The average rate for 15-year loans with fixed rates stood at 3.16 percent a year earlier.

Rates for five-year adjustable rate mortgages climbed from 2.63 percent to 2.64 percent with an average of 0.6 points, which is unchanged from the previous week. A year earlier, rates for these loans averaged 2.82 percent.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages using 10-year bonds as a benchmark, averaged 2.61 percent with 0.3 points in the week, up from 2.53 percent in the previous week.

One-year Treasury-indexed loans were at 2.84 percent in the same week of 2012.

"Mortgage rates remain near record lows and continue to support housing demand, translating into a pick-up in home prices in most markets," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

"The median sales price of existing homes rose 10 percent between fourth quarter 2011 and 2012, the largest year-over-year gain in seven years," he said.

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