Consumer spending jolts mortgage rates
News gives financial markets inflation jittersBy Inman News, Thursday, December 28, 2006.
Mortgage rates climbed for the third straight week following recent reports that home sales and consumer spending performed better than expected in November, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported today in their weekly surveys.
In Freddie Mac's survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed this week to an average 6.18 percent from 6.13 percent last week, and the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage gained from 5.89 percent to 5.93 percent.
Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.
"Mortgage rates edged up over the week following news of a jump in consumer spending in November," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. "Financial markets were concerned that stronger spending could keep inflation elevated. These worries were further compounded by the releases of new- and existing-home sales for the same month, which both exceeded market forecasts and caused Treasury bond yields to continue to rise."
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 5.98 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, up from 5.96 percent last week. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.47 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week's 5.44 percent.
"The lower mortgage rates in November and early December are giving the housing market a bit of relief at year's end," Nothaft said, "but we expect to see continued volatility in housing market data even if mortgage rates stabilize, due to uncertain weather patterns that can impact the underlying figures one way or the other."
In Bankrate.com's survey, mortgage rates moved higher for the third consecutive week following strong consumer spending figures for November. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is now 6.23 percent, with an average of 0.25 discount and origination points.
The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing nosed higher to 5.96 percent, Bankrate.com reported. On larger loans, the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate was down slightly to 6.44 percent. The average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage climbed to 6.11 percent, and the average one-year ARM increased to 5.93 percent.
Bankrate.com said mortgage rates increased following a report about strong consumer spending in November. This was additional evidence, following other reports in recent weeks on retail sales and a strong labor market, that any hopes of a Fed rate cut coming soon are premature. Bond yields and mortgage rates -- whose movement is closely tied -- were only slightly higher, as there was little else of significance during a holiday-shortened week with light trading volumes.
Fixed mortgage rates are sharply lower since the Fed stopped raising interest rates at mid-year, according to Bankrate.com. In late June, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.93 percent. At the time, the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $1,090. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.23 percent, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,014, which is a compelling refinancing alternative for adjustable-rate borrowers facing sharp payment adjustments.
The following is a sampling of Bankrate.com's average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas:
New York - 6.18 percent with 0.03 point
Los Angeles - 6.27 percent with 0.38 point
Chicago - 6.4 percent with 0.03 point
San Francisco - 6.19 percent with 0.39 point
Philadelphia - 6.19 percent with 0.25 point
Detroit - 6.26 percent with no points
Boston - 6.27 percent with 0.09 point
Houston - 6.21 percent with 0.46 point
Dallas - 6.2 percent with 0.41 point
Washington, D.C. - 6.1 percent with 0.45 point
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