U.S. Mortgage Rates Hold Close to a Two-Year High

Julie C. Nichols General

Bloomberg – Elizabeth Dexheimer

Mortgage rates in the U.S. were unchanged, with the 30-year average close to a two-year high, as fewer homeowners sought to refinance.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage held at 4.57 percent, Freddie Mac said in a statement today. The average 15-year rate remained at 3.59 percent, according to the McLean, Virginia-based company.

A jump in borrowing costs from near-record lows in early May has reduced affordability for would-be buyers and discouraged homeowners from applying to lower their monthly payments. While applications for purchase loans dropped 17 percent in the past four months, the decline was 71 percent for a measure of refinancing, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released yesterday.

“The biggest impact of higher rates, by far, is the decline in refinancing,” Jed Kolko, chief economist at San Francisco-based property-listing service Trulia Inc. (TRLA), said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We had two months of big rate spikes, both May and June, and rates have continued to climb, though not as steeply, since June. Altogether, that should keep pushing refinancing activity down.”

>> Read More: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-12/u-s-mortgage-rates-hold-close-to-a-two-year-high.html