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Mortgage rates still climbing

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Mortgage rates continued to move higher as bond yields climbed and more positive economic reports indicated that the U.S. economy is headed for a long-awaited recovery.

The 30-year mortgage rate climbed to 6.44 percent in the week ending Sept. 5, with an average of 0.6 point payable up front, from 6.32 percent a week earlier. The 30-year stood at 6.15 percent this time last year, according to mortgage finance firm Freddie Mac.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 5.77 percent up from 5.66 percent last week and above the 5.56 percent rate of a year ago. The 15-year averaged 0.6 point payable up front.

And the rate on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), loosely indexed to the 10-year Treasury note, rose to 3.98 percent, also with 0.6 point, from 3.88 percent last week, but it's still below the year-ago rate of 4.35 percent.

"The 10-year Treasury bond yields continue to climb, raising mortgage rates as they go. Also contributing to the current rise in rates is the growing number of favorable news reports about an upturn in economic growth," Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist.

"It is important to note that we are also seeing a moderation in the rate of house price appreciation, and that should help counter higher mortgage rates, keep housing affordable and the industry busy."

Freddie Mac's average mortgage rates are based on a survey of 125 lenders nationwide. The rates include those on mortgages accepted by borrowers with good credit ratings who place a 20 percent down payment on their homes, according to Freddie Mac. The total amount of each mortgage considered for the survey doesn't exceed a $322,700 limit.

Freddie Mac (FRE: down $0.42 to $55.29, Research, Estimates), or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., is a publicly traded company the government established in 1970 to provide a flow of funds to mortgage lenders. It buys mortgages from banks, bundles them and then resells them as mortgage-backed securities.

Its products, and the products of other similar entities, have become increasingly popular as an alternative to government-backed bonds, particularly with international investors.


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