Fixed mortgage rates fell early this week in the wake of a decline in the inflation rate, with Freddie Mac pegging the 30-year loan at an average of 4.22%, down from 4.35% last week.
But the trend Thursday was once again toward higher rates.
Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of what lenders are offering showed the average rate for a 15-year fixed home loan fell from 3.35% last week to 3.27%. The start rate for a popular variable mortgage that is fixed for the first five years also declined slightly.
The survey by the home finance giant, released Thursday, asks lenders about the terms they are offering solid borrowers on standard types of loans each Monday through early Wednesday.
Freddie’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said the mortgage market was reacting during that period to news that consumer prices rose in October at the slowest pace in four years, while industrial production declined slightly rather than showing a small gain as expected.
Later Wednesday, however, notes from a key Federal Reserve meeting indicated that the Fed this winter would go ahead with its plan to start scaling back giant bond purchases designed to keep long-term rates low.
And a better than expected Labor Department report on jobs early Thursday indicated the economy was strengthening, a signal of higher interest rates in the future.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, seen as an indicator for fixed mortgage rates, jumped above 2.8% Thursday morning after spending much of Tuesday and Wednesday below 2.7%.
Freddie Mac’s weekly survey is the longest-running of many tallies of mortgage rates and is used in many government reports as well as private economic forecasts.