On the heels of positive employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Freddie Mac has announced that average fixed mortgage interest rates have increased over last week's levels.
The February 12th release of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey indicates that lenders in aggregate have increased interest rates for 30-Year Fixed Mortgages to 3.69%, up 10 basis points from 3.59% last week. Despite the uptick, this week's rate data still has not reached the level of rates from the end of last year or even the beginning of this year, when 30-Year mortgage rates were 3.87% and 3.73%, respectively. Today's mortgage rates for 30-Year FRM are still discounted compared to the 4.28% homeowners faced last year on February 13, 2014.
Rates for 5/1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgages also increased 15 basis points to 2.97% this week over last week. Interest rates for 15-Year Fixed Mortgages and 1-Year Adjustable Rate Mortgages also rose to a smaller extent, finishing the week at 2.99% and 2.42%, respectively. Interest rates for these other mortgage products are similarly lower compared to their February 2013 levels, with the adjustable rate products showing the least relative differences.
Freddie Mac and its Deputy Chief Economist have attributed this week's increase to new job creation, relatively stable unemployment rates, and slight increases in average hourly earnings nationally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 257,000 new jobs were added in January across various industries outside of farming. A few of the major industries that expanded their employment levels were retail trade, construction, healthcare, financial activities, and manufacturing. Unemployment rates remained around the 5.7% mark, hovering at 9 million unemployed individuals nationally. Additionally, average hourly earnings for private nonfarm employees increased $0.12 to $24.75, settling into an overall 2.2% increase over the year.