(June 14-2013) Mortgage rates continued their upward trend last week, according to new data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
The 30-year fixed-rate average last week increased from 3.91 percent to 3.98 percent, coming close to the 4-percent mark, which has not been surpassed in more than a year. This time last year, the 30-year averaged 3.71 percent.
Rates for 15-year mortgage average pushed higher, up to 3.10 percent from 3.03 percent last week. That is slightly higher than one year ago, when it averaged 2.98 percent.
“Fixed mortgage rates crept up further this week following a solid employment report for May,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “The economy added 175,000 new jobs and the number of discouraged workers fell by 780,000 to the fewest since September 2009.”
“With the ongoing run up in fixed mortgage rates, adjustable-rate mortgages are becoming more popular among homeowners looking to refinance and for home purchasers,” Nothaft said, noting that, in terms of total dollars, the share of mortgage applications for ARMs has jumped to 17 percent from 13 percent at the beginning of May.
The number of individuals who are underwater on their mortgages is falling, too. On Wednesday, CoreLogic, a research firm, reported that the number of homeowners who owe more than their homes are currently worth dropped to 9.7 million during the first quarter of the year, down from 11.4 million during the same period in 2012.
The shift is largely the result of a gradual increase in home prices earlier this year, which helped more homeowners get back into the black on their mortgages.
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