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Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates jump; 30-year fixed averages 3.63%

March 14, 2013|By E. Scott Reckard

Mortgage rates moved sharply higher this week, with Freddie Mac pegging the typical rate on a 30-year fixed loan at 3.63%, up from 3.52% last week and 3.31% last fall when it set an all-time record low.

Freddie Mac's weekly survey of what lenders are offering to solid borrowers showed the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate rose from 2.76% last week to 2.79%.  Borrowers would have paid 0.8% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees to obtain the rates.

Stronger-than-expected growth in jobs and consumer spending were factors, Freddie Mac said in releasing the report Thursday. The economy added 236,000 new workers in February while retail sales rose by 1.1%, well above expectations, Freddie's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said.

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With stock investors sending the Dow Jones industrial average to record highs, demand for bonds was falling. The consequence: generally rising interest rates, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note at 2.06% Thursday morning, matching its closing high for 2013.

"Solid economic data continues to take its toll on bond markets, driving mortgage rates higher this week," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, whose weekly survey of mortgage rates also moved sharply higher.

"When major stock market indicators run at or near record highs, it's a fair bet that mortgage rates won't be running toward record lows."  

US 30 Year Mortgage Rate Chart

US 30 Year Mortgage Rate data by YCharts

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