Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bankrate: Fixed Mortgage Rates at Highest Since October

by Bill McBride on 2/28/2008 11:48:00 AM

From Bankrate.com: Fixed Mortgage Rates at 4-Month High

Fixed mortgage rates increased for the third week in a row, with the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate now 6.41 percent.
Bankrate.com Mortgage Rates
(graphic from Bankrate.com)

Holden Lewis at Bankrate.com writes: Fixed rates up, ARMs decline
ARMs are becoming more compelling each week, and this week is no exception, as the most popular fixed rate went up while adjustable rates went down.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points, to 6.41 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.4 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.2 percent; four weeks ago, it was 5.88 percent.
From Chairman Bernanke yesterday: Bernanke says 'we have a problem' controlling long-term mortgage rates
'We have a problem, which is that the spreads between the Treasury rates and lending rates are widening, and our policy is essentially, in some cases just offsetting the widening of the spreads, which are associated with signs of illiquidity,' Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee.

'So in that particular area, it's been more difficult to lower long-term mortgage rates through Fed action,' he said.
The Bernanke conundrum: In the short term, the more he cuts short rates, the more certain long rates may rise.

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