Mortgage rates in the U.S. climbed for a fourth week, pushing borrowing costs to the highest since February as demand for home loans slumps.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan rose to 4.91 percent in the week ended today from 4.87 percent, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate averaged 4.13 percent, up from 4.10 percent a week ago, the McLean, Virginia-based mortgage-finance company said in a statement.
Rising borrowing costs are limiting demand for new loans and refinancing. Mortgage applications fell 6.7 percent in the week ended April 8 to the lowest level in two months, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Washington-based group’s measure of refinancing declined 7.7 percent, while its index of purchases dropped 4.7 percent.
Home sales remain sluggish since a federal government tax credit for buyers ended a year ago. The pipeline of foreclosures, clogged by delays in processing delinquencies, is preventing prices from reaching a bottom. Foreclosure filings in the first quarter fell 27 percent from a year earlier as lenders worked through a backlog of flawed paperwork related to home seizures, according to a report today from RealtyTrac Inc., an Irvine, California-based data company.
Sales of existing homes declined 9.6 percent in February, and distressed properties accounted for 39 percent of deals, the National Association of Realtors said last month.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan began climbing from a record low of 4.17 percent in November and reached a 10- month high of 5.05 percent in February. It is below where it was last year at this time, when it averaged 5.07 percent, according to Freddie Mac.
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