Financial

Greetings from Uncle . . . Freddie

Greetings from Uncle . . . Freddie

For the last four weeks running, mortgage rates have been inching up. According to Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), a government-sponsored enterprise, both fixed and short-term rates are up to 4.61 percent, up from 4.46 percent last week.

It doesn’t sound like much, but according to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, “Interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages are now almost half a percentage point higher than the record low set in mid-November, which for a $200,000 conventional loan amounts to $50 more in housing payments.”

Is that $50-a-month jump keeping people away from the real estate market? According to the NAR (National Association of Realtors), existing pending sales were up by 10.4 percent in October, making it the strongest month since April, 2010. The Mortgage Bankers Association tells us that mortgage applications are up as well, with three weeks in a row of increases that represent a 17.7 percent increase in activity. Looks like Old Saint Nick might be driving a moving van this holiday season.