Mortgage rates for 30-year loans rose for the first time in four weeks as borrowing costs that remain close to record lows spurred more Americans to refinance their homes.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage climbed to 4.14% from 4.12%, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. The average 15-year rate increased to 3.27% from 3.23%.
Rates for 30-year mortgages have declined from a two-year high of 4.56% last August, encouraging homeowners to shift into new loans with lower costs.
The share of home-loan applicants seeking to cut monthly payments climbed to 54.5% in the week ended Aug. 1, the highest level since March, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group's measure of refinancing applications rose 3.8%.
"Last week was a volatile week for interest rates, but it also proved to be a positive one as refinance applications increased," Bill Banfield, vice president of Detroit-based lender Quicken Loans Inc., said in an email yesterday. "More Americans are realizing that they need to take advantage of the low rates before they start climbing."
The Federal Reserve is scaling back monthly bond purchases that have kept down borrowing costs. Policy makers last week announced their sixth consecutive $10 billion cut, staying on pace to end the buying program in October.
The 30-year average mortgage rate reached a record low of 3.31% in November 2012.