30-year mortgage hits 9-month high
Long-term home loan at 6.34%, 15-year at 5.72% and 1-year ARM at 3.90% on job growth data.
May 21, 2004: 4:12 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - U.S. mortgage rates climbed this week, with the 30-year loan rate hitting its highest since August last year, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

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The rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.34 percent for the week ended May 13, up from 6.12 percent the previous week and 5.45 percent a year earlier, the mortgage firm said.

The last time the 30-year rate climbed as high was the week ending August 8, 2003, when it averaged 6.34 percent.

The long-term home loan also had 0.7 of a point payable up front, on average, according to Freddie Mac.

The 15-year mortgage rose to 5.72 percent from last week's 5.47 percent, with 0.7 point payable up front. A year ago, it was 4.84 percent.

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One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 3.90 percent, up from 3.76 percent the previous week. A year earlier they averaged 3.67 percent.

"Last month's huge surge in employment figures reaffirmed market expectations that the Fed will move sooner now rather than later," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "This put pressure on the bond market, and as yields grew, so did mortgage rates.

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"The Consumer Price Index will come out tomorrow (Friday) and with that the focus of concern shifts away from the lack of job growth and towards inflation as a deciding factor for the Fed in determining the timing of future action," he said in a statement.

Freddie Mac's reading on average mortgage rates is based on a survey of 125 lenders nationwide.

Freddie Mac (FRE: up $0.05 to $57.37, Research, Estimates), or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., is a publicly traded company the government established in 1970 to provide a flow of funds to mortgage lenders. It buys mortgages from banks, bundles them and then resells them as mortgage-backed securities.

Its products, and the products of other similar entities, have become popular as an alternative to government-backed bonds, notably with international investors.  Top of page

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