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Average 30-year mortgage rate edges up, above 4%, Bankrate says

March 20, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard
  • Mortgage rates have been heading higher, pushing the typical 30-year fixed loan above 4% in one survey. That makes it harder to afford to buy a home.
Mortgage rates have been heading higher, pushing the typical 30-year fixed… (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles…)

Those 30-year fixed home loans that have rates starting with a "3" are getting harder to find.

Bankrate's running survey of average mortgage rates has edged into the 4%-plus range over the past week and was at 4.05% on Tuesday. It had spent more than three months in the once unimaginable range below 4%, Bankrate senior analyst Greg McBride said.

"Last Wednesday, March 13, was the first time with a 4-handle since Dec. 2, 2011," he said in an email.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which after seesawing in the 2% range in February has jumped from 1.94% on March 6 to 2.37% on Tuesday.

Multiple outfits track mortgage rates, each with its own formula and consequently its own average for a "typical"  loan. But they have all moved higher of late, including Freddie Mac's widely watched weekly survey, which comes out each Thursday.

Treasury yields tend to rise on good economic news, which makes riskier investments appear more tempting and inflation appear likelier.

“The Federal Reserve delivered a better assessment of the economy,” Erin Lantz, director of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, said in an online update. “Bank stress test results were more positive than many expected, and Greece’s second bailout plans appeared on track.”

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