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Mortgage Rates Wednesday, March 8: 14-Week High; Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Apps Surge

March 8, 2017
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Thirty-year and 15-year fixed rates, as well as 5/1 ARM rates, all moved higher today, according to a NerdWallet survey of current mortgage rates published by national lenders Wednesday morning.

Many lenders were aggressively marking up their fixed mortgage rates today.

The Federal Reserve will announce its decision on raising short-term interest rates in one week. In recent speeches, Fed Chair Janet Yellen and other Fed officials have strongly hinted at raising rates during this upcoming meeting.

While mortgage rates aren’t directly affected by the decision, rising short-term interest rates generally steer long-term rates, like mortgages, higher over time. Lenders seem to be working to stay ahead of the Fed already. Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates are at their highest level in 14 weeks, according to the NerdWallet Mortgage Rate Index.

Mortgage Rates Today, Wednesday, March 8:

(Change from 3/7)
30-year fixed: 4.49% APR (+0.06)
15-year fixed: 3.87% APR (+0.05)
5/1 ARM: 3.90% APR (+0.02)

ARMs race to 28-month high

Facing rising interest rates, more borrowers are choosing adjustable-rate mortgages. While interest rates on fixed-rate loans remain remarkably low, ARMs usually begin their terms with even lower rates. So for home buyers expecting to remain in a home for just three to five years, ARMs can be a smart choice.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today that ARM applications reached a 28-month high last week. With ARMs accounting for 7.7% of total weekly loan production through March 3, the loan product hit its highest level of application activity since October 2014.

» MORE: Calculate your monthly mortgage payment

According to the MBA, overall home loan applications rose 3.3% from the previous week. And reflecting ever-higher home prices, the average loan size for purchase applications reached an all-time survey high of $313,000. The MBA has conducted the weekly survey of mortgage applications since 1990.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published annual percentage rate with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. APR quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halmbundrick.