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NEW YORK, March 16 U.S. 30-year mortgage rates
rose for a second straight week to their highest levels since
late December in step with a jump in Treasury yields, according
to mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac on Thursday.
The borrowing cost on 30-year mortgages, the most widely
held type of U.S. home loan, averaged 4.30 percent in the week
ended March 16, which was the highest since 4.32 percent in the
week ended Dec. 29 and was above 4.21 percent the preceding
week, it said.
Other mortgage rates that Freddie Mac tracks also rose in
the latest week as bond yields climbed in anticipation of an
interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve.
On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank as expected raised key
rates by a quarter percentage point to a range of 0.75-1.00
percent. It signaled it may increase short-term borrowing costs
two more times this year if the economy improves further.
"Increasing inflation, continued gains in the labor market
and the Fed's intentions for further rate increases - all three
will keep pushing mortgage rates up this year," Freddie Mac's
chief economist Sean Becketti said in a statement.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 2.629
percent, a near 3-month high, on Tuesday before falling to 2.535
percent on Thursday in the aftermath of the Fed's second rate
hike in three months, Reuters data showed.
Below is a summary of Freddie Mac's average mortgage rates
in the week ended March 16:
Loan type Latest week (pct) Week ago (pct) Year ago (pct)
30-year fixed 4.30 4.21 3.73
15-year fixed 3.50 3.42 2.99
5-year ARM 3.28 3.23 2.93
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)