Mortgage rates hold steady amid economic uncertainty
Fixed-mortgage rates held steady this past week as mixed economic reports surfaced showing signs of improvement in the housing market, Freddie Mac said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage inched up to 4.51% from 4.5% last week. For the past month, the interest rate for a traditional mortgage has stayed mostly unchanged, and it remains below the year-ago average of 4.58%. "Interest rates on 30-year fixed, mortgages hovered around 4.5% for the fourth-consecutive week following mixed reports on the strength of the economy," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist and vice president for Freddie Mac. The 15-year, fixed rate averaged 3.69% this past week, unchanged from a week earlier and down from 4.04% last year. The five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid, adjustable-rate mortgage hit 3.22% this past week, down from 3.25% a week earlier and 3.79% a year ago. In addition, the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.97%, down from 2.99% a week ago and 3.80% a year earlier. Nothaft said most rates remained steady as varying economic reports surfaced about the state of the economy. "First-quarter economic growth was revised up in the final estimate, but growth in consumer spending stagnated in May while April's figure was revised downward," he said. “Meanwhile, there were some signs of improvement in the housing market. In April, the S&P/Case- Shiller 20-city composite home price index rose 0.7%, representing the first monthly increase since July 2010. However, much of the improvement reflected the seasonal increase in homebuying over the spring-summer period. Pending existing home sales rebounded in May, exhibiting the largest monthly increase since November." Bankrate.com said its data show the 30-year, fixed-mortgage rate rose to 4.71% last week from 4.66% ,while the 15-year FRM increased to 3.86% from 3.83% and the jumbo 30-year FRM fell to 5.21%. "Mortgage rates rebounded as strong stock market performance and growing anxiety about lack of progress on increasing the debt limit weighed on bonds," Bankrate said in its weekly report. "Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds. With money being siphoned away from bonds, mortgage rates increased for just the second time in the past 12 weeks." Write to Kerri Panchuk.