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Will Mortgage Rates Rise?

A few months ago mortgage rates hit historic lows, but now rates are on a slow climb. Will higher interest rates have an effect on housing affordability? Are historic low mortgage rates history?

Near-Record Lows

For the second consecutive week, the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed no change in average fixed mortgage rates. For the week ending February 14, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent; by comparison, last year’s rate averaged 3.87 percent. The 2.77 percent 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is also lower than 2012′s rate of 3.16 percent. These near-record low rates are making home ownership more affordable than ever before.

Are Rates Beginning to Climb?

But the days of historic lows may soon be coming to an end. In November, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage broke a historic record by averaging 3.31 percent. By the end of January, that rate climbed back up to 3.53 percent. Economists with Freddie Mac expect mortgage rates to continue the climb. A gradual increase is expected through 2013, with December’s average rate projected to reach around 3.75 percent. A year later, Freddie Mac economists believe average rates could increase to 4 percent. The Mortgage Bankers Association, meanwhile, predicts the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to end 2013 at 4.1 percent; 2014 will see the rate climb to 4.5 percent.

Rates Are Still Low

Although mortgage rates are rising, they are still lower than last year and completely affordable. With the Federal Reserve’s plan to buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month until employment improves, mortgage rates will stay near their record lows in the future. Home buyers can be guaranteed a reasonable mortgage rate for the next few years.

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