April 7 (Bloomberg) -- Mortgage rates in the U.S. inched higher, the third straight week of increases in borrowing costs.
The average rate for 30-year fixed home loans rose to 4.87 percent in the week ended today from 4.86 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate was 4.1 percent, up from 4.09 percent a week ago, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said in a statement.
Mortgage applications decreased 2 percent in the week ended April 1, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index. The Washington-based group’s refinancing measure fell 6.2 percent, while its purchasing gauge rose 6.7 percent to the highest level this year. The increase reflected a jump in demand for government loans as buyers tried to beat an April 18 increase in Federal Housing Administration insurance premiums, the group said yesterday.
The housing market remains weak as foreclosures mount and unemployment hovers close to 9 percent. Sales of existing homes fell 9.6 percent in February, and distressed properties accounted for 39 percent of deals, the National Association of Realtors said March 21.
Rates for 30-year loans began climbing from a record low of 4.17 percent in the week ended Nov. 11 and reached a 10-month high of 5.05 percent in February.
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