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Mortgage rates extend upward journey

Fixed-rate mortgages rose for the fourth week in a row along with other long-term yields after hitting a historic low amid continued positive housing data.

The Freddie Mac survey showed the 30-year FRM averaged 3.66% for the week ending Thursday, up from last week’s rise to 3.62%. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.22%.

The 15-year FRM, a popular refinancing choice, averaged 2.89%, ticking up from last week’s 2.88%. A year ago, the average rate for a 15-year FRM was 3.44%.

Five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.8%, up from 2.76% last week and falling from 3.07% a year earlier.

One-year, Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.66%, down from last week’s 2.69% and down from 2.93 % last year.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft cited the Census Bureau when giving context to the rising rates. The bureau’s report stated that residential building permits grew in July, although builders slowed the pace of construction starts on single-family homes in July to the least since March while apartment and condominium building picked up to the most since April.

Existing home sales rose in July from June’s eight-month low and the median sales price jumped 9.4% from a year earlier, representing the largest 12-month gain since January 2006. The price gain was broad-based, with annual increases registered in all four regions of the U.S., led by a 24.5% increase in the West.

Home loan analytics firm Bankrate, which surveys large banks, reported the 30-year FRM rose to 3.91% from 3.86%, while the 15-year FRM shot up to 3.12% from 3.05%. The 5/1 ARM shrunk to 2.9% from 2.93% for the week.

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