Mortgage rates, as charted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com, are heading higher following an employment report for December that some economists took as positive.
Freddie Mac says the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.40 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending January 10, 2013 -- its highest reading in eight weeks. The week before the FRM averaged 3.34 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.89 percent.
The 15-year FRM week averaged 2.66 percent with an average 0.7 point, versus last week's average of 2.64 percent. A year ago, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.16 percent.
The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.67 percent this week with an average 0.6 point. That's a decline from last week, when it averaged 2.71 percent. A year ago, the five-year ARM averaged 2.82 percent.
The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.60 percent with an average 0.5 point, compared with 2.57 percent last week and 2.76 percent a year ago.
"Fixed mortgage rates increased slightly following a positive employment report for December,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The economy added 155,000 jobs, above the consensus market forecast, and November's job growth was revised upward by another 24,000 workers. This helped keep the unemployment rate steady at 7.8 percent, the lowest since December 2008. For all of 2012, 1.86 million jobs were created and represented the largest annual gain since 2006."
Bankrate.com says the idea that the Federal Reserve will eventually have to stop buying mortgage bonds to keep rates low sent rates higher.
The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.67 percent from 3.58 percent, according to Bankrate.com's national survey of large lenders. The mortgages in this survey had an average total of 0.32 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index stood at 4.18 percent; four weeks ago, it was 3.52 percent.
This is the highest rate for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in nearly four months. The last time it was higher was the Sept. 19, 2012, survey, when the 30-year fixed averaged 3.7 percent.
The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 2.92 percent from 2.88 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.77 percent from 2.76 percent.