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RISMEDIA, January 23, 2009-Mortgage rates increased after falling in each of the previous three weeks. According to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.59% with an average of 0.3 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage jumped to 5.2% and the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate climbed to 7.22%. Adjustable rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 1-year ARM sliding to 5.91% and the 5/1 ARM rising to 5.58%.

The reversal in mortgage rates was prompted by investors’ nervousness about a large supply of government debt and renewed concerns about the health of banks. Higher yields on benchmark Treasury debt and wider mortgage credit spreads spelled an increase in mortgage rates versus one week ago. While mortgage rates remain historically low, the barrier for many homeowners is lack of equity. Similarly, a lack of downpayment could be a barrier to an otherwise well-qualified home buyer.

Lower mortgage rates have opened the door to refinancing for homeowners with equity. As recently as October, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.77%, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,299.86. With the average rate having since fallen to 5.59%, the monthly payment on a $200,000 loan is now $1,146.90.

Survey Results

30-year fixed: 5.59% — up from 5.28% last week (avg. points: 0.30)
15-year fixed: 5.20% — up from 4.89% last week (avg. points: 0.37)
5/1 ARM: 5.58% — up from 5.51% last week (avg. points: 0.38)

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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