Friday, December 30, 2011

30-year mortgage rates climb from record low

Mortgage rates inch back higher
30-year mortgage rates climb from record low

U.S. mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans increased from the lowest on record as home sales rose amid improved consumer confidence and employment data.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan rose to 3.95 percent in the week ending Thursday, from 3.91 percent last week, the lowest in records dating to 1971, Freddie Mac said. The average 15-year rate climbed to 3.24 percent from 3.21 percent, according to the mortgage finance company.

New-home sales jumped to a seven-month high in November, figures from the Commerce Department showed last Friday. The unemployment rate declined to 8.6 percent last month, the lowest level in more than two years, and confidence among consumers reached an eight-month high in December.

"Low interest rates are a necessary condition to help the housing market, but they aren't sufficient," Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer at Advisors Capital Management, said before Freddie Mac made the announcement. "We need some other things to happen to help housing. The most important of those is for job growth to continue at a stronger pace."

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits decreased for the week ended Dec. 17 to the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department said last week.

Residential home values, weighed down by foreclosures, fell 3.4 percent in October from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities.

A measure of contracts to buy previously owned homes increased 7.3 percent in November to the highest level since April 2010 after climbing 10.4 percent the previous month, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday in Washington.
Market data provided by Bloomberg News

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