Mortgage rates moved higher again this week as speculation continued about whether the Federal Reserve will end its future bond purchases, which have kept rates at historical lows, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey. But remarks by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday may indicate that the Fed won’t be ending its program immediately.
On Wednesday, Bernanke said that unemployment is still high and inflation too low. He said the Fed would not raise short-term rates until the unemployment rate reaches 6.5 percent. The jobless rate is currently 7.6 percent. The Fed has been buying $86 billion a month in government bonds to hold down long-term interest rates, which have helped mortgage rates in recent months reach all-time lows.
Freddie Mac reported the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending July 11:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.51 percent, with an average 0.8 point, rising from last week’s 4.29 percent average. A year ago at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.56 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.53 percent, with an average 0.8 point, increasing from last week’s 3.39 percent average. Last year at this time, 15-year rates averaged 2.86 percent.
- 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.26 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up from 3.10 percent last week. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.74 percent.
- 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.66 percent, with an average 0.5 point, holding steady from last week’s average. A year ago at this time, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.69 percent.