U.S. Mortgage Rates Climb With 30-Year Fixed at 3.57%

Mortgage rates in the U.S. rose slightly, holding near record lows as cheap borrowing costs help fuel the housing recovery.

The average rate for a 30-year (NMCMFUS) fixed mortgage was 3.57 percent in the week ended today, up from 3.54 percent, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac (FMCC) said in a statement. The average 15- year rate climbed to 2.76 percent from 2.72 percent.

Home values are rising as low interest rates fuel demand for a tight supply of listings. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities climbed 8.1 percent in the 12 months through January. It was the biggest year-over-year advance since June 2006 and all cities in the index had an increase, the group said this week.

The gains are “giving people confidence that they can buy a house and it won’t later fall in value,” David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “With the consistent increase in house prices, that’s removed that last hesitancy.”

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Contracts (USPHTMOM) to buy previously owned homes slipped last month as low inventories held back transactions, The National Association of Realtors said yesterday. The group’s index of pending home sales fell 0.4 percent after a revised 3.8 percent increase in January.

Homebuilders are benefiting from the scarcity of existing properties. New houses sold in February at an annual pace of 411,000, capping the best two-month showing in more than four years, Commerce Department data showed March 26.

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

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