Bloomberg News

Mortgage Rates for 30-Year Fixed U.S. Loans Increase to 3.92%

March 15, 2012

U.S. mortgage rates climbed as signs that the economy is improving drove yields for the Treasuries that guide home loans.

The average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.92 percent in the week ended today from 3.88 percent, Freddie Mac (FMCC) said in a statement. That rate was 3.87 percent last month, the lowest in records dating to 1971. The average 15-year (NMCM15US) rate increased to 3.16 percent from 3.13 percent, according to the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company.

The 10-year Treasury yield, a benchmark for mortgages, touched 2.288 percent yesterday, the highest level since October, after the Federal Reserve said that strains in global financial markets have eased and the labor market is gathering strength.

Existing-home sales rose in January to the fastest pace in 20 months as investors took advantage of a decline in prices and low mortgage rates boosted home affordability to record levels, the National Association of Realtors reported Feb. 22.

“Home affordability is incredible at this point,” George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “There has been a price correction, incomes are gradually rising and the financing rates are at historic lows. That, I think, is going to be a real catalyst this year.”

The economy added 227,000 jobs in February, the third consecutive month of gains of more than 200,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said March 9.

To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in New York at pgopal2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Taub at dtaub@bloomberg.net


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