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Rates climb for 30-year mortgages

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Mortgage rates climbed this week but are still at levels that will keep the housing market hardy, analysts say.

In its weekly survey, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 5.73 percent for the week ending July 21. That was up from the 5.66 percent rate registered last week.

Except for two weeks in late March, 30-year mortgages rate have been below 6 percent all year. Low rates have stoked home sales.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.32 percent this week, up from 5.25 percent last week.

“Even though long-term rates rose for the third consecutive week, they still remain below 6 percent – still relatively close to the phenomenally low rates we experienced in June of 2003,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

At that time, rates on 30-year and 15-year mortgages were falling to their lowest levels seen in Freddie Mac’s record-keeping.

“We believe that the housing industry, although posed to ease a bit, will still continue to bustle as the economy continues to expand steadily and long-term rates remain affordable,” Nothaft said.

For one-year adjustable rate mortgages, rates increased to 4.42 percent, compared with 4.39 percent last week. The last time the one-year ARM was higher was the week ending Aug. 2, 2002, Freddie Mac said.

“As the one-year ARM reaches its highest interest rate level in almost three years, it comes as no surprise that the ARM share, based on the number of applications for a mortgage, has fallen noticeably since the beginning of June,” Nothaft said.

Rates on five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 5.26 percent, up from 5.15 percent last week.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year mortgages and 15-year mortgages each carried an average fee of 0.4 point this week. One-year ARMS had an average fee of 0.6 point this week.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 5.98 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 5.39 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 4.12 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.

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