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Inflation Raises Long Term Interest Rates

Posted Thursday, May 29, 2008

Today Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.08 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 29, 2008, up from last week when it averaged 5.98 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.42 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 5.66 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.55 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 6.12 percent.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.62 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, up very slightly from last week when it averaged 5.61 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 6.19 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.22 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down slightly from last week when it was 5.24 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 5.57 percent.

(Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.)

"Mortgage rates drifted up this week over market concerns that the Federal Reserve Board may raise short-term rates later this year," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "A recent working paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis suggested that the recent rate cuts run a risk of unhinging long-term market expectations for inflation. Indeed, market inflation expectations increased over the last few weeks and the federal funds futures market now has a 25 basis point rate hike priced in by the end of the year.

"While existing house prices continue to decline, new home sales unexpectedly rose in April and the number of month’s supply of new homes for sale fell from 11.1 months in March to 10.6 months in April. Moreover, the median sales price for new homes rose 1.5 percent in April from the same month in 2007, representing the first yearly increase since November 2007."