Mortgage rates have climbed to the highest level in close to four years, according to data released Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.38% in the week ending Feb. 15, up from 4.32%, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said.

A year ago, the benchmark mortgage averaged 4.15%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.84%, up from 3.77%, and the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.63%, up from 3.57%.

The backup in rates has occurred on concerns about rising inflation pressure, with the latest increase coming after a stronger-than-forecast gain in consumer prices.

“Inflation measures were broad-based, cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will go forward with monetary tightening later this year,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist.

Fellow mortgage buyer Fannie Mae said it’s upped its 30-year fixed rate mortgage forecast for the fourth quarter by 30 points to 4.4%.

“However, we don’t expect rates to play much of a role in total home sales, especially with anticipated stronger disposable household income growth. The ongoing inventory shortages should continue to constrain sales despite otherwise ripe home buying conditions,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie’s chief economist, in a statement.

Source: ~ By Steve Goldstein

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