Mortgage rates went back up this week after setting record lows the previous week.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 4.12 percent for the week, Freddie Mac announced Thursday. Last week, the rate fell to 3.94 percent, the first time in history that the interest rate fell below 4 percent. At this time last year, the rate averaged 4.19 percent.
The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.37 percent, up from 3.26 percent last week. At this time last year, the rate averaged 3.62 percent.
An employment report that was better than market expectations helped to lift long-term Treasury bond yields and mortgage rates as well, Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a statement.
In order to calculate rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders from Monday to Wednesday each week.
Despite the spike, Freddie Mac notes that mortgage rates are near their 60-year lows. Homeowners may look to refinance their mortgage to take advantage of the low rates. However, with high unemployment, large amounts of consumer debt and many people underwater on their mortgages, it may be difficult for many to qualify for the new rates.
Furthermore, it may be difficult for new homeowners to take advantage of the lower rates. Financial institutions are generally demanding higher credit scores to give out loans and often request 20 percent down on a mortgage.
Homeowners may wait to refinance to see if rates drop. A homeowner must pay closing costs to refinance, which typically costs 0.8 percent of the original loan.
People still hold a pessimistic view of the housing market despite low interest rates. According to Fannie Mae's August 2011 national consumer survey, 78 percent of Americans believe the economy is moving in the wrong direction. Twenty-seven percent believe home prices will continue to fall, and 22 percent believe their financial situation will deteriorate over the next year.
In late September, the Commerce Department put out a report noting that sales of single-family homes in August were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 295,000 annually, down from 302,000 in July but up from 278,00 in August of 2010.
Write to Samuel Weigley at email@example.com.