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Mortgage rates increase fourth straight week

But how fast are rates moving?

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All mortgage rates edged higher for the fourth straight week except the adjustable rate mortgage, which eased, the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed.

The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.37% for the week ending Feb. 20, up from 4.33% a week ago, and significantly up from 3.51% a year earlier.

Additionally, the 15-year, FRM hit 3.39%, an increase from last week’s 3.55%, but up from 2.76% for the same period in 2013.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.05% this week, down from 3.08% a week ago, but up from 2.61% last year.

The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM reached 2.52% this week, down from 2.57%  a week prior and 2.64% in 2013.

“Mortgage rates edged up with new home sales exceeding expectations and rising to a seasonally adjusted pace of 468,000 units in January, the strongest annual rate since July 2008,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said.  

“The 9.6% increase in new home sales for January followed an upward revision of 13,000 units in December. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 13.4% over the 12-months ending in December 2013,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bankrate reported that mortgage rates witnessed little change this week.

The average 30-year, FRM dropped to 4.48% from 4.49%, while the 15-year, FRM dipped to 3.50% from 3.52% a week prior.

In addition, the 5/1 ARM inched higher to 3.30% from 3.28% last week.

“Mortgage rates have been in a docile state over the past few weeks, as uncertainty regarding global markets has receded. While the pace of the U.S. economic recovery is still an open question, things have transitioned to a wait-and-see mode that translates into tame movements in mortgage rates,” Bankrate said in its report.

“The surge of monthly economic releases over the next ten days may answer some of those economic questions, and be a catalyst for renewed volatility in the bond market, and ultimately, mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds,” the report continued.

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