Mortgage rates rise again; 30-year loan averages 3.85%, Freddie Mac says

Better economy means higher-cost mortgages: Freddie Mac says fixed-rate loans have risen three weeks in a row

Interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages have moved higher three weeks in a row, with Freddie Mac’s latest survey showing lenders offering well-qualified borrowers conventional 30-year loans at an average of 3.85%, up from 3.8% last week.

The average for 15-year fixed mortgages rose to 3.07% from 3.02%, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Improvement in the economy tends to drive rates higher, and the news has been good of late, Len Kiefer, Freddie’s deputy chief economist, said as the rate survey was released.

The labor market added 223,000 jobs in April, “a solid rebound from merely 85,000 job gains in March,” Kiefer said.

The unemployment rate dipped to 5.4%, and far fewer claims for unemployment benefits were filed than economists had expected.

Freddie Mac asks lenders early each week about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers seeking mortgages up to $417,000 that conform to guidelines set by Freddie and Fannie Mae, the other mortgage finance giant.

The borrowers would have paid a little more than half of 1% of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain the loans.

Not included are such expenses as appraisals, title insurance and mortgage insurance for loans with down payments under 20%.

The survey provides a consistent gauge of mortgage trends, but actual rates may change rapidly and are influenced by many factors, including borrowers’ credit scores, debt loads and down payments.

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