Mortgage rate increases slow after rapid rise earlier this year

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Mortgage rates increased a scant two basis points this past week, holding steady recently after their rapid rise at the start of this year, according to Freddie Mac.

30-Year FRM 15-Year FRM 5/1-Year ARM
Average Rates 4.42% 3.87% 3.61%
Fees & Points 0.4 0.4 0.3
Margin N/A N/A 2.75

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.42% for the week ending April 12, up from last week when it averaged 4.4%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.08%.

"Mortgage rates have been holding steady over the past two months. Rates have bounced around 4.4% since mid-February and could break out and head higher if inflation continues to firm," said Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer in a press release.

"If inflation continues to trend higher, we may see two or three more rate hikes from the Fed this year, and mortgage rates could follow. For now, mortgage rates are still quite low by historical standards, helping to support homebuyer affordability as the spring home buying season ramps up."

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week averaged 3.87%, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.34%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% this week with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.62%. A year ago at this time, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.18%.

"Given the scale of geopolitical risk and equity market volatility, it is surprising that mortgage rates were so steady, and suggests that long-term lending markets are — at least for the moment — writing off the headlines as transitory," Aaron Terrazas, Zillow's senior economist, said when that company released its own rate tracker on Wednesday.

"Beyond the standard economic calendar, rates could rise if trade tensions escalate or if military action in the Middle East looks likely. Leadership changes in Congress could also point to slightly tighter fiscal policy which would ease recent upward pressure on rates," Terrazas said.

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