Mortgage rates inch higher

NEW YORK, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The streak of four straight weekly declines in mortgage rates was broken this week. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey, the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 5.15 percent. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.49 discount and origination points.

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The average 15-year fixed mortgage nudged higher to 4.55 percent and the larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate settled at 6 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 3-year ARM falling to 4.60 percent and the 5-year ARM nudging higher to 4.56 percent.

Mortgage rates were up only slightly despite the type of upbeat economic news that can push rates up more noticeably. Reports on economic growth at the close of 2009, personal income and consumer spending for December, and a widely watched manufacturing index for January were all stronger than expected, but were greeted by a collective shrug in financial markets. Lingering uncertainty about the strength and sustainability of the economic recovery is continuing to hold mortgage rates in check. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government debt.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At that time, the average rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 5.15 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,092.05, a savings of $150 per month for a homeowner refinancing now.

SURVEY RESULTS
30-year fixed: 5.15% -- up from 5.13% last week (avg. points: 0.49)
15-year fixed: 4.55% -- up from 4.54% last week (avg. points: 0.45)
5/1 ARM: 4.56% -- up from 4.54% last week (avg. points: 0.38)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets. For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates

The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next week. Nearly half of the panelists, 47 percent, expect mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged over the next week. A slightly lower percentage - 40 percent - predict an increase while just 13 percent forecast a decline in mortgage rates over the same time period.

View the full mortgage Rate Trend Index.

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