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RISMEDIA, Jan. 5, 2007-Mortgage rates moved slightly higher on a week highlighted by better-than-anticipated home sales figures. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is now 6.24%, the highest since Nov. 15. According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large lenders, the 30-year fixed rate mortgages had an average of 0.27 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing increased to 5.99%. The same was true for larger loans, with the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate up modestly to 6.47%. The average 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage climbed to 6.15% and the average one-year ARM inched upward to 5.94%.

Movements in mortgage rates were subtle during the holiday season, with little in the way of economic data or market volatility to push rates one way or the other. The most significant news came in the form of better home sales figures for November. This pushed bond yields higher on the belief that the Federal Reserve would be unlikely to cut interest rates any time soon. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term
government bonds.

Fixed mortgage rates are sharply lower since the Fed stopped raising interest rates. Six months ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.91%. At the time, the monthly payment on a loan of $165,000 was $1,087.79. With the average 30-year fixed rate now 6.24%, the same loan originated today would carry a monthly payment of $1,014.86. Fixed mortgage rates are a compelling refinancing alternative for adjustable rate borrowers facing sharp payment adjustments.

SURVEY RESULTS

30-year fixed: 6.24% — up from 6.23% last week (avg. points: 0.27)
15-year fixed: 5.99% — up from 5.96% last week (avg. points: 0.25)
5/1 ARM: 6.15% — up from 6.11% last week (avg. points: 0.28)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For more information, visit http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates.

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