Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mortgage Rates Near a Year High

Home-mortgage rates are nearing their highest levels in a year, adding to pressures on the already weak housing market.

Rates on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by nearly 0.40 percentage point in the past week to an average of 6.71%, according to HSH Associates in Pompton Plains, N.J. Rates on jumbo loans, which are too big to be eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, currently average 7.84%.

The higher rates are making it more difficult for borrowers to refinance and putting another crimp on weak home sales. "It's a tough market and rates going up isn't helping it," said Steve Walsh, a mortgage broker in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mortgage rates typically move in line with rates on 10-year Treasurys. Treasury rates have risen, but so has the spread between rates on 30-year mortgages and 10-year Treasurys, said Nicholas Strand, a mortgage strategist at Barclays Capital.

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