Mortgage Rates See First Increase in Four Weeks

After falling for a whole month, long-term mortgage interest rates showed some growth again in the latest week, according to data from mortgage backer Freddie Mac.

The average rate on a 30-year conventional fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.94 percent, excluding fees, during the week ended August 13, 2015, up from 3.91 percent the week before. One year earlier the average rate was higher still at 4.12 percent.

The rise in rates was a product of on-target jobs reports, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Sean Becketti. “The jobs report for July showed that the economy added 215,000 jobs, in line with expectations,” he said in a statement. “Wage growth remains modest at 2.1 percent compared to the same time last year, and another solid if not stellar employment report leaves a potential Fed rate hike on the table for September.”

The increase may have been more dramatic if not for the recent Chinese currency woes. “This year’s theme of overseas economic turbulence continues with the focus shifting east to China,” Becketti explained. “Over the past few days the Chinese Yuan has fallen sharply. In the midst of these mixed data mortgage rates inched up, increasing 3 basis points to 3.94 percent.”

During the latest week, rates also jumped on the 15-year fixed rate mortgage and the one-year adjustable rate mortgage. The 15-year FRM carried an average rate of 3.17 percent, up from 3.13 percent the previous week and the one-year ARM rebounded to 2.62 percent, up from 2.54 percent.

What might the future look like for long-term interest rates? Almost impossible to say, according to Becketti. “Headed into the fall, we’ll likely see continued interest rate tension, with dollar appreciation weighing against possible Fed rate hikes leaving the rate outlook clouded.”

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