Conventional mortgage rates continued to rise in February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) monthly rate report (download here). The average interest rate entered on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) of $417,000 or less ticked up 3 basis points (bps) in February to 5.13%, from 5.1% in January. The average rate on 15-year FRMs rose 11bps to 4.65% in February, FHFA said. The average contract rate on all loans — fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages — rose 4bps to 5.03% in February. The national average contract mortgage rate inched up to a level seen in February 2009: FHFA calculated these average rates based on purchase-only mortgage loans closed during the February 22-26 period. Because interest rates are typically determined 30-45 days before loan closing, these rates represent market conditions prevailing in mid- to late-January. In a separate report, FHFA said that in January the national average contract mortgage rate for the purchase of previously occupied homes was 5.05%, up 4bps from 5.01% in December. This rate is commonly used to adjust ARM rates and previously was the only index rate that federally chartered savings and loan associations could use as an adjustable-rate mortgage index in the early 1980s, FHFA said. Write to Diana Golobay.

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