Mortgage Rates Soar to 7-year High

Five consecutive weeks of increases pushed mortgage rates to their highest level since April 2011.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.72 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 4.65 percent a week ago and 3.83 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.16 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 4.11 percent a week ago and 3.13 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average rose to 3.97 percent with an average 0.3 point. It was 3.92 percent a week ago and 3.20 percent a year ago.

“The robust economy, rising Treasury yields and the anticipation of more short-term rate hikes caused mortgage rates to move up,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Although the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate Wednesday, the news came too late in the week to be factored into Freddie Mac’s survey. Freddie Mac, the government-allied mortgage-backer, aggregates rates weekly from 125 lenders from across the country to compile national average mortgage rates.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications picked up again this week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index – a measure of total loan application volume – increased 2.9 percent from a week earlier. The refinance index rose 3 percent from the previous week, while the purchase index also grew 3 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 39.4 percent of all applications.