Mortgage Rates Increase For First Time In 5 Weeks

Mortgage Rates Increase For First Time In 5 Weeks

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.23 percent from 4.22 percent, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. The average 15-year rate increased to 3.31 percent from 3.29 percent, according to the McLean, Va.-based company. The shutdown has lengthened the wait for some borrowers seeking mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Agriculture. It also has postponed the release of economic-data reports, including the Department of Labor’s monthly employment figures, which Federal Reserve officials use to determine whether to continue stimulus efforts.

“We’re working blind in a very murky environment right now,” said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage-data firm in Riverdale, New Jersey, in a telephone interview yesterday. “The longer this drag persists from the government shutdown, the less likely it is that the Fed is going to make a move at the end of the month.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said last month that more signs of lasting improvement in the economy are needed before the central bank cuts its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases. Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s Sept. 17-18 meeting, released yesterday, show most policy makers indicated that budget cuts and an increase in borrowing costs were a drag on economic growth. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan jumped to a two-year high of 4.58 percent in August from a near-record low of 3.35 percent in early May.

If the U.S. doesn’t raise the debt limit by Oct. 17, the country’s borrowing authority would lapse. Treasury yields and mortgage rates would rise if the government were to run out of money, Diggle said.


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Dated: October 15th 2013
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