U.S. mortgage rates jump to highest since December

Fixed U.S. mortgage rates jumped to the highest level this year, signaling the Federal Reserve’s plan to lower borrowing costs has stalled. The average 30-year rate rose to 5.29 from 4.91 percent a week earlier, Freddie Mac, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage buyer, said today in a statement. The last time the rate was higher was Dec. 11, when it was 5.47 percent. The average 15- year rate rose to 4.79 percent from 4.53 percent.

Rising rates may deepen the U.S. housing slump and sideline consumers hoping to refinance or purchase their first house. The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes climbed 6.7 percent in April, largely on cheaper financing costs, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Mortgage applications in the U.S. fell last week as demand for home-loan refinancing slumped. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications to purchase a home or refinance a loan dropped 16 percent to 658.7 in the week ended May 29. Purchase applications rose 4.3 percent while requests to refinance fell 24 percent.

Source: Bloomberg.com, Brian Louis

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