Mortgage rates rise to two-year high

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose this week to their highest levels in two years, driven by heightened speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases later this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.58 percent, up from 4.40 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.60 percent from 3.44 percent. Both averages are the highest since July 2011.

Rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May. Last week’s spike comes after more Fed members signaled they could be open to reducing the bond purchases as early as September. The purchases have helped keep long-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates.

Despite the increase, mortgage rates remain low by historical standards. And recent reports suggest the jump in rates has yet to sap the housing recovery’s momentum.

In July, previously occupied homes in the U.S. sold at the fastest pace since 2009. Sales jumped 6.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.4 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Over the past 12 months, sales have surged 17.2 percent.

Last week, the National Association of Home Builders said its measure of confidence among builders rose this month to its highest level in nearly eight years.

Mortgage rates are rising because they tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield has also surged on speculation that the Fed’s stimulus will slow. It rose to 2.90 percent Thursday morning, its highest level in two years.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage rose to 0.8 point from 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan increased to 0.7 point from 0.6 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.67 percent. The fee edged up to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage declined to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent. The fee held at 0.5 point.

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

‘Not surprising’: FCC repeals net neutrality rules

Internet service providers will be free to slow down competing services and sell faster speeds.

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Before the buyout, 21st Century Fox will spin off the Fox network, stations and cable channels.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Delta orders 100 Airbus A321neo jets valued at $12.7 billion

Boeing had hoped to land the deal, offering comparable 737s.

Rubio to vote against tax bill if child credit isn’t expanded

Sen. Bob Corker announced that he would vote against it due to concerns on the federal deficit.

Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million complex expected to open in spring 2019.

Most Read