Last week, for the second straight week, average long-term U.S. mortgage rates inched up, as financial markets awaited the Federal Reserve’s crucial decision on interest rates.
Capping months of feverish speculation, Fed policymakers announced Thursday that they had decided to keep interest rates at record lows in the face of a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets. But at a news conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said a rate hike was still likely this year. A majority of Fed officials on the committee that sets the federal funds rate – which controls the interest that banks charge each other – still foresee higher rates before next year. The Fed will meet next in October and then December.
A rate hike by the Fed could bring higher rates for home loans. The Fed has kept its key short-term rate at a record low near zero since the financial crisis struck seven years ago.
Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 3.91 percent last week from 3.90 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.11 percent from 3.10 percent.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from the previous week at 0.6 points. The fee for a 15-year loan declined to 0.6 points from 0.7 points.
The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 2.92 percent from 2.91 percent; the fee held steady at 0.5 points. The average rate on one-year ARMs fell to 2.56 percent from 2.63 percent; the fee slipped to 0.2 points from 0.3 points.