Bankrate.com figures showed a 4.14 percent rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 3.36 percent rate for the 15-year fixed rate mortgage, both increasing 2 basis points from last week. As for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, the benchmark rate went up to 3.05 percent by 3 basis points.
The only benchmark figure that remained unchanged was the 30-year fixed jumbo, which remained at 4.55 percent. Last week, the rates for all four mortgage variants were at their lowest ever point since 1986, when Bankrate first started publishing their surveys.
These recent increases, small as they may be, are an encouraging sign for the US housing market. For the month of January, the US unemployment rate went down a bit to 8.3 percent, after close to 250,000 jobs were added.
For many experts, this increase in interest rates came as a bit of a surprise given the ongoing lack of investor confidence. In fact, these financial analysts are not expecting the rates to make any significant increase as the government works on helping the housing market recover.
In related news, Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, expressed similar skepticism about the recent drop in the unemployment rate. In a Senate hearing held Tuesday, Bernanke stressed that the figures did not take into account individuals who had stopped seeking employment or those currently working part-time. As such, the federal funds rate may remain low for the next two years or so.