With employment improving and the fiscal cliff averted, fixed mortgage rates have jumped to their highest level in two months, with lenders offering the 30-year home loan at 3.4% this week, up from 3.34% last week, according to Freddie Mac.
The typical offering rate on a 15-year fixed loan edged up from 2.64% to 2.66%, the big government-supported loan buyer said Thursday in its weekly report. Borrowers would have paid 0.7% of the loan amounts to lenders in up-front fees and discount points to obtain the rates.
Freddie’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said a better-than-expected employment report contributed to the increase.
Government statisticians said 155,000 jobs were added to the labor force in December, and revised November’s job growth upward by 24,000 workers, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 7.8%, the lowest since December 2008.
The government on Thursday reported an uptick in jobless claims, but the overall picture has improved.
“For all of 2012, 1.86 million jobs were created and represented the largest annual gain since 2006,” Nothaft said.
Congress and President Obama also averted a threat to the economy by voting not to let taxes rise on most Americans this year, as they had been scheduled to do under the co-called fiscal cliff provisions that had been set to take effect Jan. 1.