The days of record-low mortgage rates may be in our rearview mirror. Rates for all loan products headed higher this week ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and by more than just the incremental 1 or 2 basis points.
Analysts attribute the rise to increasing bond yields, driven by investors' growing confidence in the economy, positive employment data, and recent evidence from the Federal Reserve's stress tests that indicates banks have strengthened capital levels enough to maintain operations and continue lending through another hypothetical recession.
""An upbeat employment report for February caused U.S. Treasury bond yields to increase over the week and mortgage rates followed,"" according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
The GSE reports the average rate for a 30-year conforming mortgage at 3.92 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending March 15, up from 3.88 percent last week.
Despite the increase, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been below 4.00 percent for 15 consecutive weeks in Freddie Mac's study, helping to keep homebuyer affordability high. The GSE averages rate data from 125 lenders across the country.
Bankrate's study zeros in on rate quotes from the 10 largest lenders in the 10 largest markets. That analysis put the 30-year rate at an average of 4.15 percent (0.40 point) this week, up from 4.11 percent last week.
The average 15-year fixed mortgage stepped up from 3.34 percent last week to 3.38 percent (0.33 point), according to Bankrate, while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to a three-month high of 4.73 percent, soaring 10 basis points from 4.63 percent last week.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were mostly higher as well in Bankrate's study, with the average 5-year ARM rising to 3.14 percent (0.33 point) and the 7-year ARM climbing to 3.33 percent.
Freddie Mac's study found the 15-year fixed mortgage averaging 3.16 percent (0.8 point) this week, up from 3.13 percent last week.
The GSE reports the average rate for a 5-year ARM to have ascended 2 basis points to 2.83 percent (0.8 point) this week, and the 1-year ARM posting a 6 basis point increase to 2.79 percent (0.6 point).
Dan Green is a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati and a regular blogger on issues affecting the housing market, and mortgage rates in particular. He says rates have been low because of the weak U.S. economy and with the economy now showing signs of strengthening, we should expect mortgage rates to continue to rise.