Mortgage rates rise above 5 percent

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 1, 2010; 6:04 PM

McLEAN, Va. — Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages climbed above 5 percent this week as a Federal Reserve program geared to keep interest rates low came to an end.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 5.08 percent this week from 4.99 percent last week, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said Thursday. At the same time last year, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.78 percent.

 Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to a record low of 4.71 percent in December and have hovered around 5 percent since. Rates were kept down by the Fed’s $1.25 trillion program to buy up mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae.

 The Fed’s program ended Wednesday. Some analysts feared that mortgage rates could rise once the program concluded, weakening the fragile recovery in housing and the overall economy. Low rates make mortgages less expensive for homebuyers.

 Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day, often in line with long-term Treasury bonds.

 This week, the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.39 percent, up from 4.34 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

 Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.10 percent, down from 4.14 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dipped to 4.05 percent from 4.20 percent.

 The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

 The nationwide fee for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.7 of a point. The rest of the loans in Freddie Mac’s survey averaged 0.6 of a point.

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