Mortgage rates increased in the week that ended Thursday, with the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages edging closer to 5%, though it remained lower than a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of mortgage rates.
Mortgage rates generally track U.S. bond yields, which move inversely to Treasury prices. Rates climbed earlier this year, hitting their highest level since April last month after slumping most of last year as Treasuries declined amid economic uncertainty. Rates had dropped last week as investors, wary of the then-worsening crisis in Japan, sought U.S. bonds.
Freddie's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said the rate uptick was "related to higher-than-anticipated inflation data for February and ongoing geopolitical concerns."
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.81% for the week that ended Thursday, up from the previous week's 4.76% average, but down from 4.99% a year earlier. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4.04%, up from 3.97% in the previous week, but down from 4.34% a year earlier.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.62%, up from the prior week's 3.57% ,but down from 4.14% a year earlier.