Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.8 per cent; 15-year rate up to 3.02 per cent

WASHINGTON – Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up this week to the highest level since mid-March.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.80 per cent this week from 3.68 per cent a week earlier.

The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.02 per cent, up from 2.94 per cent and the first time it’s topped 3 per cent since it hit 3.06 per cent in mid-March.

A year ago, the average 30-year rate stood at 4.21 per cent and the 15-year at 3.32 per cent.

The 30-year average rate hit a record low 3.31 per cent in November 2012. The 15-year average hit bottom at 2.56 per cent in May 2013.

Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, said U.S. interest rates were driven higher this week in part by news the U.S. trade deficit hit a seven-year high in March.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point this week, unchanged from last week. The average fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 2.90 per cent from 2.85 per cent last week, but the fee fell to 0.4 point from 0.5 point. For a one-year ARM, the average rate slid to 2.46 per cent from 2.49 per cent last week; the fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.