U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rates Hold at Four-Month High

U.S. mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans held at a four-month high as job growth helps fuel demand for housing.

The average 30-year rate was unchanged at 3.53 percent in the week ended today, the highest since Sept. 13, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15- year rate dropped to 2.77 percent from 2.81 percent.

U.S. home prices are recovering as buyers compete for a shrinking supply of listings and employment improves. Payrolls increased by 157,000 workers in January following a revised 196,000 gain the prior month and a 247,000 jump in November, Labor Department figures showed Feb. 1.

“The job numbers are good enough to keep the current momentum we have in the housing market,” Millan Mulraine, a New York-based economist at TD Securities LLC, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “But for the housing recovery to shift up a gear or two to generate significant economic growth, it will be necessary for employment to accelerate.”

U.S. home prices rose 8.3 percent in December from a year earlier, the biggest jump since May 2006, Irvine, California- based CoreLogic Inc. reported this week.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of home-loan applications climbed 3.4 percent in the week ended Feb. 1, the Washington-based group said yesterday. The refinance gauge advanced 3.5 percent, and the purchase measure rose 2.2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Prashant Gopal in Boston at pgopal2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.