The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.28 percent, up slightly from 4.23 percent last week, according to the latest survey from mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Although the increase was small, it marked the first time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen in 2014. The popular loan averaged 4.53 percent at the start of 2014 and was at 3.53 percent a year ago.
The 15-year fixed-rate average remained the same week-over-week at 3.33 percent. It averaged 3.55 percent at the beginning of this year, and was at 2.77 percent a year earlier.
Averages for hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed. At 3.08 percent a week ago, the five-year ARM is now trending at 3.05 percent. A year ago, it averaged 2.64 percent. The one-year ARM rose to 2.55 percent from 2.51 percent a week ago. It averaged 2.61 percent at this time last year.
“Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a statement. “Of the few releases, the economy added 113,000 jobs [PDF] in January, which was below the market consensus forecast and followed a slight upward revision of 1,000 jobs in December. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent, which makes 13 consecutive months without an increase.”
Mortgage rates had been rising steadily in December after the Federal Reserve announced it would begin to taper its bond-buying stimulus program in January. The program has helped offset dramatic gains in real estate prices and kept affordability elevated while the market has stabilized. However, rates have eased over recent concerns that the market would not be able to support a dramatic upward shift in home prices.
Despite the recent economic reporting, the housing market at large continues to show signs of recovery.
Looking ahead, rates may rise in the short-term as a result of the upcoming January employment report. In the latest Mortgage Rate Trend Survey by Bankrate.com, 63 percent of the analysts polled believe averages will increase over the next week, while a quarter of analysts polled believe rates will hold steady.
“I’m beginning to see commentary about an impending increase in wage growth,” said Bankrate.com Assistant Managing Editor Holden Lewis. “Frankly, I think this is like commenting about an impending increase in the unicorn population, but if investors somehow become convinced that wages and hours are rising, then we’ll see an increase in mortgage rates.”