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At the beginning of February, mortgage rates had been lower than expected four weeks in a row. However, as of last week, mortgage rates are now at their highest levels in seven weeks. These higher rates may make clients or prospects question whether it’s a good time to buy a home. With that said, these rates are still lower than where we were at the start of 2014.

Here are more details about these rising mortgage rates, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey:

30-year:  fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.37 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending March 13, 2014, up from last week, when it averaged 4.28 percent. One year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.63 percent.

15-year: FRM this week averaged 3.38 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week, when it averaged 3.32 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.79 percent.

5-year: Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.09 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week, when it averaged 3.03 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.64 percent.

1-year: Treasury- indexed ARM averaged 2.48 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week, when it averaged 2.52 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.64 percent.

Mortgage rates have been unpredictable during the last several weeks, much of which can be attributed to the imbalance between news from the employment report and the unemployment rate. During February, the economy added 175,000 jobs, which was actually above the market consensus forecast. In the meantime, the unemployment rate nudged up to 6.7 percent, the first rate increase in over a year.

What may come as a surprise to many is that the Crimea crisis in Ukraine and slower growth in China has kept mortgage rates from worsening any further.  So while day-to-day fluctuations have been high, at a macro level, the rates are mostly flat. In fact, Freddie Mac reported 4.37% as the average rate for 30-Year Fixed three weeks ago – identical to last week’s rate.

At the beginning of 2014, the 30-Year Fixed rate was 4.53%. The good news is that we’re still 16 basis points (bps)  lower than that! This is a sign of good things to come, being that experts originally predicted that rates would increase through the year. These lower rates are a direct result of slower than expected economic growth so far this year.

Outlook for 2014:

Since the Fed is expected to taper bond purchases again this year, and the fact that the Crimea crisis has yet to become a military conflict, rates are expected to inch up moving forward. More specifically, the next two weeks will likely see an increase of .125% to .25% before next month’s employment report, slated to be released on April 4th, 2014.

Be sure to share this information with your clients to keep them up to date on everything going on in the mortgage industry. Furthermore, check out the Local Market Index report to find even more information regarding the nation’s housing market.