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Mortgage Rates Pick Up for Second Straight Week

ratesMortgage rates continued to rise in the past week, bringing the 30-year fixed up to its highest since the start of the year.

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 3.76 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending February 19, up from 3.69 percent a week ago and the highest rate since 2014's final reading.

Around this time last year, the average 30-year FRM was 4.33 percent and climbing.

"Mortgage rates rose for the second consecutive week as 10-year Treasury yields surged," said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, in a statement.

Freddie Mac attributed part of the increase to a lasting effect from January's jobs report, which showed ongoing growth in the U.S. labor market. Counterbalancing that was this week's data on home construction for January, which showed both starts and permits slipping.

Average rates were also up for the 15-year FRM, climbing 6 basis points to 3.05 percent (0.6 point).

Adjustable rates were flat to up for the week. According to Freddie Mac, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.97 percent (0.5 point) this week, unchanged from last week, while the one-year ARM averaged 2.45 percent (0.4 point), up from 2.42 percent.

Bankrate.com offered a similar view of rate changes in the past week, clocking the 30-year fixed at 3.96 percent and the 15-year fixed at 3.21 percent, both up. The 5/1 ARM was down slightly in Bankrate's survey to 3.31 percent.

In its own analysis, Bankrate said that economic growth in the United States has finally picked up enough momentum to offset the problems overseas that had held rates down throughout the start of this year.

"Mortgage rates had fallen as the year got under way on concerns over international growth. Those concerns haven't gone away, and in fact have increased with Ukraine and Greece now drawing attention," Bankrate said. "However, these international concerns are being overshadowed by the increased likelihood of a mid-year Fed interest rate hike."

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.
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