Mortgage Rates Climb this Week to 6.39%

The rate for an average 30-year, fixed-rate loan rose this week for the first time in months, from last week’s 6.27% to 6.39%.

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. mortgage rates rose this week for the first time in more than a month, posing at least a temporary setback for would-be home buyers and a housing market already reeling from more than a year of interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that that average fixed-rate 30-year mortgage edged up to 6.39% from 6.27% the week before. A year ago, the average rate was 5.11%.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular with those refinancing their homes, also rose – to 5.76% from 5.54% a week earlier.

The Fed, responding to a surge in inflation that last year hit a four-decade high, has raised its benchmark interest rate nine times in just over a year. Mortgage rates surged to a two-decade high of 7.08% last fall. But rates had fallen five straight weeks before the upturn this week.

Higher borrowing costs have taken a toll on the housing market. The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that sales of existing U.S. homes fell 2.4% from February to March at an annual rate of 4.44 million – signaling a disappointing start to the spring homebuying season. Median home prices fell to $375,700 – down 0.9% from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year drop since January 2012.

Investment in U.S. housing has dropped for seven straight quarters, including freefalls at an annual rate of 27.1% from July through September, and 25.1% from October through December last year.

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