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Mortgage Rates Up for Second Week

Average fixed mortgage rates moved up slightly for the second as market analysts continue to debate whether recent weakening in the economy is a result of poor weather conditions or indicative of a long-term trend.

Freddie Mac released Thursday its Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending February 20, showing the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) coming up 5 basis points to a rate of 4.33 percent (0.7 point). This time last year, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.56 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.35 percent (0.7 point), up from 3.33 percent last week.

Adjustable rates also shifted up slightly, with the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) climbing to 3.08 percent (0.5 point); the 1-year ARM was up to 2.57 percent (0.3 point).

Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said the change reflects market forecasts of what the Federal Reserve’s next move might be.

“Mortgage rates crept up further following the uptick in the 10-year Treasury yield as minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting indicated little possibility of a pause in the central bank’s reduction of bond purchases,” Nothaft said.

Bankrate.com’s weekly survey pulled up mixed movements, though most changes were minor. The 30-year fixed average moved up a basis point to 4.49 percent in the finance site’s latest report, while the 15-year fixed average moved down the same amount to 3.52 percent.

The 5/1 ARM, meanwhile, declined a few points to 3.28 percent.

“Mortgage rates are hovering as we’re in a bit of a wait-and-see mode regarding the economy,” Bankrate said in a release. “Recent economic reports have not been impressive, with much of that chalked up to the brutal snow and cold throughout much of the country this winter.

“It may take a more normal weather pattern to truly gauge where the economy sits, and at least for now, there isn’t much movement in mortgage rates being seen.”

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