Mortgage Rates Wednesday: Up Because of Yellen

Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed five basis points, the 15-year fixed rate rose three basis points, and the 5/1 ARM went up five basis points, according to a NerdWallet survey of daily mortgage rates published by national lenders Wednesday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the same as it was one week ago and 18 basis points lower than one year ago. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percent.

The rise in mortgage rates was accompanied by optimistic remarks from Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve. Interest rates often rise in response to positive economic news, and Yellen accentuated the positive in her prepared remarks for her regular appearance before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. She said, “economic growth appears to have stepped up from its subdued pace early in the year.”

She acknowledged that inflation remains lower than the Fed wants it to be. But she said she expects inflation to rise, and she blamed leisurely economic growth partly on the retirements of baby boomers. Yellen’s term as Fed chair will end early in 2018, and her last appearance before the joint committee was her version of a victory dance and a mic drop on the way out the door.

Yellen gave the Fed room to raise short-term interest rates in December, for the third time this year. She said she expects the Fed to keep raising the federal funds rate “over the next few years to sustain the economic expansion.”

MORTGAGE RATES TODAY, WEDNESDAY, NOV. 29:

(Change from 11/28)
30-year fixed: 4.09% APR (+0.05)
15-year fixed: 3.63% APR (+0.03)
5/1 ARM: 4.17% APR (+0.05)


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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