U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rates Jump to 2017 High Before Fed Meeting

U.S. mortgage rates rose, sending costs for 30-year home loans to their highest level this year before the Federal Reserve meets to consider an increase in its benchmark interest rate.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.21 percent, up from 4.1 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. The average 15-year rate climbed to 3.42 percent from 3.32 percent.

The Treasury yields that guide mortgage costs jumped in the past week as a series of speeches by Federal Reserve officials bolstered traders’ expectations that the central bank will almost certainly raise rates at its March 14-15 meeting. Chair Janet Yellen said an increase “would likely be appropriate” if the job market and inflation keep moving toward the Fed’s targets. The Labor Department is scheduled to release February employment data tomorrow.

Read more: Fed not waiting for jobs report as indicators say go

Job gains are spurring demand for real estate even as supplies tighten. Sales of previously owned homes climbed in January to the highest level since 2007, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The inventory of listings fell 7.1 percent from January 2016, marking the 20th consecutive year-over-year decline.

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