U.S. mortgage rates rise at last

February 23, 2012 01:30PM

Mortgage rates are rising nationwide, leaving the historically low rates of the last three weeks behind, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey released today.

For 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages, the average rate was 3.95 percent in the week ending Feb. 23, up week-over-week from 3.87 percent. Last year at same time, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.95 percent. The data shows a similar increase for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, which were up to 3.16 percent from 3.19 percent the week prior, and from 4.22 percent year-over-year.

For treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages with a five-year term the average rate was 2.8 percent this week, down from 2.82 percent last week, and from 3.8 percent last year at this time. One-year treasury-indexed ARM mortgages averaged 2.73 percent, down from last week’s 2.84 percent. For the same week last year, one-year ARMs averaged a rate of 3.4 percent.

This bodes well for the housing recovery generally, according to Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The data… suggest the housing market is continuing to gradually improve,” he said. “Loans that were seriously delinquent (90 days or more past due plus the foreclosure inventory) fell to 5.3 percent of prime mortgages at the end of 2011, representing the lowest quarterly share since the start of 2009,” he added. — Guelda Voien