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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mortgages rise as Treasury signals sell-off

Mortgage interest rates reversed course this week, rising as the U.S. Treasury began selling off mortgage-backed securities and investors' optimism about the U.S. economy overcame concerns about global events.
The Treasury announced Monday that it will begin selling its remaining $142 billion of mortgage-backed securities, bought as part of the government's efforts to stabilize the economy in 2008 and 2009. The plan calls for the Treasury to sell $10 billion of the securities each month, subject to market conditions, according to a statement.
The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 5 basis points this week, to 4.96 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.41 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 5.11 percent; four weeks ago, it was 5.09 percent.

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