Mortgage rates rise slightly

ARMs 'broadly higher' as 30-year fixed increases to 5.27%.

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By Julianne Pepitone, contributing writer

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NEW YORK ( -- Home mortgage rates ticked only slightly higher this week, according to a report released Thursday.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped to 5.27%, up from 5.23% the previous week, according to's weekly national survey.

Even with the increase, rates remain at historic lows, the report said. Rates have plunged since late October, when 30-year fixed home mortgage rates averaged 6.77%.

"The movement in fixed mortgage rates remains very subdued," despite recent increases in benchmark bond yields, the report said.

"As a result, the spread between the rate paid by a mortgage borrower and the return earned by investors in risk-free government bonds continues to narrow," the report added.

For a conforming 30-year fixed rate mortgage, that spread is the narrowest since November, and on larger jumbo loans, the spread is the narrowest in a year.

That improvement is likely because of the Federal Reserve's continuing purchases of mortgage-backed bonds, the report said.

Loans are considered "jumbo" when they are too large to be purchased or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500). Jumbo loans carry higher rates than smaller "conforming" loans that do have guarantees.

Six months ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.44%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,256.25.

With the average rate now at 5.27%, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $1,106.89, meaning homeowners who refinance now would save almost $150 per month.

Other rates: The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage jumped to 4.78% from 4.73% the week prior.

The average jumbo 30-year fixed rate inched up to 6.68% from 6.65% the week prior.

Adjustable rate mortgages were "broadly higher," the report said, with the average 3-year ARM jumping to 5.27% while 5/1 ARMs increased to 5.07% from 5.05%. To top of page

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