Mortgage rates wander slightly higher to close out year

Fixed mortgage rates moved slightly higher this week, closing out the year with their ninth straight increase.

After jumping 14 basis points – a basis point is 0.01 percentage point – last week, the 30-year fixed rate, the most popular mortgage product, had a more modest increase this week. According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average ticked up to 4.32 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 4.3 percent a week ago and 4.01 percent a year ago. Since Oct. 27, the 30-year fixed rate has risen 85 basis points.

The 15-year fixed-rate average edged up to 3.55 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.52 percent a week ago and 3.24 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average slipped to 3.3 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.32 percent a week ago and 3.08 percent a year ago.

“As mortgage rates continue to increase, home sales and affordability will continue to be a concern for housing in 2017,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.

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Although mortgage rates have moved significantly higher the past two months, experts predict rates will moderate in the coming year. They expect them to remain below 5 percent., which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found that the experts it surveyed were evenly split on where mortgage rates were headed in the coming week. Half said they will go down, while the other half said they will remain relatively unchanged, moving less than plus or minus two basis points.

The Mortgage Bankers Association did not release its mortgage applications data this week because of the holiday. Next week’s data will include the two previous weeks’ data.

From the Associated Press:

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Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged up this week to the highest levels in more than two years. Investors are bidding up rates under the belief that inflation and economic growth will rise with the incoming Trump administration. Long-term mortgage rates have risen nine straight weeks.

Current avg Last week 52-week high 52-week low

30-year fixed 4.32 percent 4.30 percent 4.32 percent 3.41 percent

15-year fixed 3.55 percent 3.52 percent 3.55 percent 2.72 percent

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5-year adjustable 3.30 percent 3.32 percent 3.32 percent 2.68 percent