30-year fixed mortgage rate rises to 5.97 percent
By Carlos Torres
Bloomberg News Service
WASHINGTON The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage held below 6 percent for the fourth consecutive week, according to Freddie Mac, the No. 2 buyer of U.S. mortgages.
The 30-year rate rose to 5.97 percent in the week that ends tomorrow from 5.95 percent the previous week. The rate has been lower than 6 percent since the last week of December, the longest such string since Freddie Mac the Federal Home Mortgage Corp. started keeping records in 1972.
The average rate on one-year adjustable mortgages remained at 4.03 percent. That compares with a rate of 4.01 percent two weeks ago, which was the lowest since records started in 1987.
With economic growth slow, mortgage and other interest rates will probably stay low, helping to underpin housing demand.
"We expect mortgage rates to hover around their current levels and for 2003 to be another strong housing market," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rate rose to 5.36 percent, from 5.33 percent.