Long-term mortgage rates in the United States rose slightly this week to 4.72%


WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly again this week, with the key 30-year lending rate hitting levels not seen in more than three years.

The average rate on the 30-year loan this week rose to 4.72% from 4.67% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported on Thursday. The average rate has jumped 1.5% over the past three months, the fastest rate of increase over this period since May 1994. A year ago, the 30-year rate stood at 3 .18%.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, climbed to 3.91% from 3.83% last week.

With inflation at its highest level in four decades, the increases in home loan rates come weeks after the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point in a bid to calm the economy . The central bank, which had kept its benchmark rate close to zero since the pandemic recession hit two years ago, potentially signaled up to seven more rate hikes this year, meaning mortgage rates will likely continue. to increase during the year.

House prices have risen about 15% over the past year and up to 30% in some cities. Homes available for sale were scarce even before the pandemic began two years ago. Now, higher prices and rising lending rates will add to the hurdles potential buyers will face as the spring homebuying season begins.

Last week, a closely watched inflation gauge by the Fed jumped 6.4% in February from a year earlier, with sharply higher prices for food, gasoline and other commodities basic necessities reducing the finances of Americans. Other metrics showed prices are up almost 8% over the past year.

Strong consumer demand combined with shortages of many goods to fuel the biggest price increases in four decades. Inflation measures are likely to worsen in the coming months as recent reports do not reflect the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. The war disrupted world oil markets and accelerated the prices of wheat, nickel and other key commodities. .

Pressured by inflation, US consumers increased their spending by just 0.2% in February, down from a much larger gain of 2.7% in January.


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