Mortgage rates increased in the past week, largely due to evidence of robust retail sales. The average 30- year fixed rate mortgage is now 6.2 percent. According to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.24 discount and origination points. The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing rose to 5.95 percent. On larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate is now 6.45 percent. The average 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage climbed to 6.09 and the average one-year ARM notched higher to 5.91 percent. Last week’s strong retail sales report provided evidence that any hopes of a Fed rate cut are premature. It was also a dose of reality to bond investors that had been viewing the economic glass as half-empty and had been pushing bond yields and mortgage rates lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term government bonds. Bond yields and mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern since, with the markets shrugging off data on producer prices and housing starts. Fixed mortgage rates are sharply lower since the Fed stopped raising interest rates at mid-year. In late June, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.93 percent. At the time, the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $1,090. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.2 percent, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,010.57. Fixed mortgage rates are a compelling refinancing alternative for adjustable rate borrowers facing sharp payment adjustments.
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