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Mortgage Rates Lift on Greek Bailout, Housing

Interest rates for mortgage loans climbed close to 4 percent this week as a second Greek bailout sowed more confidence in the investor crowd and signs emerged that housing may see an upswing.

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Finance Web site ""Bankrate.com"":http://www.bankrate.com/ and mortgage company ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ each released separate surveys, with analysts attributing the rise to different causes.

The GSE found the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage lifting to 3.95 percent, up from 3.87 percent. Bankrate.com saw rates for the loan hit 4.16 percent, up from 4.10 percent last week.

""Mortgage rates crept higher this week due to more good U.S. economic news and the

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latest bailout of Greece,"" says ""Greg McBride"":http://www.bankrate.com/blogs/federal-reserve/about-greg-mcbride-cfa.aspx, a senior financial analyst with the finance Web site. ""But a Greek debt default has only been delayed, not averted, and when fears about Europe's debt crisis resurface, mortgage rates will pull back.""

On Monday eurozone finance ministers patched together a $172-billion bailout package for Greece, bumping confidence for overseas investors fearful that that the Mediterranean country would fall into a disorderly sovereign default.

Mortgage rates closely follow Treasury yields, which expand or shrink as investors throw their money behind bonds.

Freddie Mac chief economist ""Frank Nothaft"":http://www.freddiemac.com/bios/exec/nothaft.html ascribed the lift in rates to a jump in new residential construction starts side-by-side with a tick for existing-home sales, as reported by the ""Census Bureau"":http://www.census.gov/ and ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/, respectively.

He said that the data suggested the housing market would continue to ""gradually improve.""

Bankrate.com offered up 3.38 percent for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, up from 3.35 percent last week. The GSE found the 15-year loan averaging 3.19 percent, up from 3.16 percent.

For Freddie, the 5-year and 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) fell to 2.80 percent and 2.73 percent, down from 2.82 percent and 2.84 percent, respectively.

The finance Web site found 5-year and 1-year ARMs trending upward, scaling up to 3.12 percent from 3.03 percent last week.

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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