The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.05 percent from 3 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 2.93 from 2.91 percent.
Weekly national mortgage surveyResults of Bankrate.com's Aug. 15, 2012, weekly national survey of large lenders and the effect on monthly payments for a $165,000 loan:
|30-year fixed||15-year fixed||5-year ARM|
|This week's rate:||3.86%||3.05%||2.93%|
|Change from last week:||+0.05||+0.05||+0.02|
|Change from last week:||+$4.71||+$3.97||+$1.77|
Consumers help lift the economy and ratesOne of the factors that helped push rates up this week was the release of a better-than-expected U.S. retail sales report that showed improvement in consumer spending for the first time in four months.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.8 percent in July, compared to the previous month. That's much better than economists had expected after sales had declined for three months in a row, including a 0.7 percent drop in June. Consumer spending is considered a key economic indicator because it accounts for more than 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
When those types of numbers come out, the stock market seems to do well and that's not good for rates, according to Americana Mortgage in Manhasset, N.Y.
That's because when investors become more confident about the economy, there's less demand for safe investments such as U.S. Treasury and mortgage bonds. The trend normally results in higher bond yields, which translates into higher mortgage rates.
Adding to the optimism, the National Association of Home Builders said Wednesday that builder confidence increased for a fourth consecutive month in August, according to survey conducted by the association.