NEW YORK May 28 U.S. fixed mortgage rates
climbed with government bond yields in the past week to stand
about 1/8 percentage point above record lows, Freddie Mac said
The average rate on 30-year mortgages rose 0.09 percentage
point to 4.91 percent in the week ended May 28.
The rate in April had fallen as low as 4.78 percent, the
lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking it weekly in 1971.
Still, rates are still below a year ago when 30-year
mortgages averaged 6.08 percent.
"Fixed-rate mortgage rates followed long-term bond yields
higher this week as financial markets try to discern the state
of the economy" among mixed signals in the latest week, Frank
Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.
There have been signs in recent U.S. economic data that the
recession may be easing. Consumer confidence leaped in May and
home sales in April rose. The National Association of Business
Economics called for recession to end in the second half of
this year, but said the recovery would be more moderate than in
its prior survey.
"Housing continues to be a drag on the economy," Nothaft
said in the statement.
While home sales turned upward, unsold inventory also
Sales of distressed homes made up 45 percent of April
transactions. "Such types of sales mixed with a large supply of
unsold homes keep depressing house prices."
U.S. home prices, on average, have tumbled more than 32
percent in March from the 2006 peak, based on the Standard &
Poor's/Case-Shiller indexes reported this week.
To read more detail on the past week's mortgage rates, see
Lenders charged an average 0.7 percent on fixed-rate
mortgages in the latest week, unchanged from the prior week.
(Reporting by Lynn Adler)