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Mortgage rates jump to 6-month high

The increase this week, to an average of 4.61% for a 30-year loan, is the fourth in a row since rates hit bottom less than a month ago.

December 10, 2010|By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times

Mortgage interest rates hit a six-month high this week, dashing the hopes of those who still want to refinance their loans.

Mortgage financing giant Freddie Mac reported a fourth straight week of increases in fixed rates, with lenders offering an average 4.61% to well-qualified buyers with 20% down payments, or 20% equity in the case of refinancings.

That means it now costs borrowers an extra $100 or so a month on a typical 30-year fixed-rate loan for $400,000, from four weeks ago when rates scraped bottom.

The average rate was up from 4.46% a week earlier and 4.17% in the survey released Nov. 11. Borrowers would have paid 0.7% of the loan amount on average in up-front lender fees and points in this week's survey, compared with 0.8% four weeks ago, Freddie said.

Yields on government bonds had been surging recently, helping to push home loan rates up. Mortgage rates track the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which has risen from 2.39% in early October to 3.22% Thursday.

The Freddie Mac survey, conducted from Monday through Wednesday this week, found that lenders were offering 15-year fixed-rate loans at an average of 3.96% with 0.7% in fees and points, up from 3.81% last week and 3.57% four weeks ago.

The start rates for variable adjustable-rate mortgages were on the rise as well, according to Freddie Mac.

Payments on a $400,000 mortgage — not an unusual sum for California's still-high home prices — would be $1,949.07 a month at the survey's all-time low set four weeks ago. At today's average rate, the payment would be $2,052.97.

Would-be buyers and refinancers can run payment scenarios using online amortization calculators, such as ones at Bankrate.com, HSH.com or other data suppliers.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

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