Mortgage rates dip but likely to rise soon

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. mortgage rates fell for the first time in seven week, keeping the average on the 30-year fixed loan just under 4 percent. But rates are expected to surge next week, as markets respond to Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments that the Federal Reserve will likely reduce its bond purchases later this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan eased to 3.93 percent last week. That’s down from 3.98 percent last week but is still the highest level since April 2012.

The rate on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.04 percent from 3.10 percent. That’s the highest since May 2012.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. Bernanke’s comments during a news conference Wednesday afternoon weren’t fully reflected in the latest rates.

Concern that the Fed will wind down its bond purchases has pushed mortgage rates higher in recent weeks. Mortgage rates are still low by historical standards, helping sustain the housing recovery that began last year. But a spike in long-term interest rates could drive them higher quickly…..read more

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