I'm Doug Whiteman with Bankrate.com, and here is your weekly look at mortgage rates.
Rates have surged to the highest levels in more than a year on strengthening economic data and speculation that the Federal Reserve may soon taper off its bond-buying program that has helped to keep rates low. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated last week that the central bank might ease up on its purchasing of mortgage bonds and Treasury bonds. The yields on mortgage bonds spiked in response, and mortgage rates tend to follow the yields.
The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped a quarter point, to 3.99 percent from 3.74 percent last week. The rate is the highest since early May of last year, and the same is true of the 15-year fixed mortgage rate, which has gone up to 3.21 percent. The larger jumbo 30-year fixed rate has risen to 4.2 percent.
Adjustable mortgage rates are higher, too. The one-year ARM is up to 3.04 percent, and the five-year has climbed to 2.81 percent.
Homeowners who refinanced in recent years and were thinking of doing it again may have missed the boat if they didn't lock in before rates took off. But keep in mind that even at around 4 percent, rates are still low. Experts say if you've got a mortgage at 5 percent or higher, refinancing still can make sense. To find the lowest mortgage rates in your area, use the free search engine at Bankrate.com.
I'm Doug Whiteman.