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Amid News of Government Tapering, Mortgage Rates Begin to Climb to 4.52 Percent

Dec 18, 2013

Rates on the most popular types of mortgages nudged higher this week according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two basis points (0.02 percent) to 4.52 percent. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates increased by just a single basis point, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wraparound weekly survey at an average of 3.19 percent. "Mortgage rates have firmed in the weeks leading up to this Federal Reserve meeting," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "After holding policy steady in September and October, there is a good chance that the Fed will announce a slowing of Treasury bond purchases today. They might also slow purchases of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), but that seems less likely." The Federal Reserve has been purchasing approximately $85 billion in Treasuries ($45 billion) and MBS ($40 billion) monthly throughout 2013. Buying Treasuries helps lower long-term interest rates, while purchasing MBS promotes liquidity in the mortgage market, helping move those lower rates to homebuyers and refinancers. The Fed has pledged to keep these programs in place until the economic picture has brightened, and recent indications suggest that the economy is improving, so the Fed may determine the time is right to make a change. "A small move today would not change the immediate interest and mortgage rate picture by very much, if at all," adds Gumbinger. "Financial markets seem better prepared for any change at this point and so wouldn't be very surprised, and interest rates are already positioned as though at least some change has occurred, with 10-year Treasuries and mortgages about a full percentage point above this year's lows." Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending Dec. 17, according to HSH.com: Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ►Average rate:   4.52 percent ►Average points: 0.22 Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage ►Average rate:   3.19 percent ►Average points: 0.14 Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending December 10 were, according to HSH.com: Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ►Average Rate:   4.50 percent ►Average Points: 0.22 Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage ►Average Rate:   3.18 percent ►Average Points: 0.13
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