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Mortgage Rates Radar: Fixed mortgage rates tick higher as 'Cliff' uncertainty grows

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Rates on the most popular types of mortgages moved in different directions this week, according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar. The average rate for conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rates rose by two basis points (0.02 percent) to 3.47 percent. Conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates decreased by three basis points, closing the Wednesday-to-Tuesday wrap-around weekly survey at an average of 2.65 percent.

"We're moving closer to not only the 'fiscal cliff,' but also to the end of the quarter and year, not to mention the holidays," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com. "Investors seem undecided as to whether a deal will get done, and seem unclear where to park their funds to make the best of the situation one way or the other.”

At the end of each quarter and calendar year, investors often try to square away positions to lock in any gains they have made. Because of market closures, the holidays can make this more of a challenge, and the fiscal mess is adding to the confusion of which way the economy will go. Should we fall off the ’cliff,’ the economy is widely expected to head toward another recession. Although bad for the economy, "that's good for bonds and mortgage rates," noted Gumbinger. On the other hand, "a deal getting done should help us skirt recession, and that's better for stocks."

However, with the Fed moving more deeply into the mortgage and Treasury markets, low and fairly stable interest rates should continue to be available, though they can still fluctuate from day to day and week to week.

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the week ending December 18 are, according to HSH.com:

HSH.com Mortgage Rates Radar - Four Week Trend

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

·         Average rate:   3.47 percent

·         Average points: 0.27

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

·         Average rate:   2.65 percent

·         Average points: 0.23

Average mortgage rates and points for conforming residential mortgages for the previous week ending December 11 were, according to HSH.com:

Conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

·         Average Rate:   3.45 percent

·         Average Points: 0.25

Conforming 5/1-year adjustable-rate mortgage

·         Average Rate:   2.68 percent

·         Average Points: 0.19

Methodology

The Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar reports the average rates and points offered on conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and conforming 5/1 ARMs. The weekly mortgage rate survey covers a large sample of mortgage lenders and is conducted over a Wednesday-to-Tuesday cycle, with data released every Wednesday. HSH.com’s survey helps consumers find the best rates on home loans in changing market conditions. Unlike mortgage rate surveys that report average rates only, the Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar’s inclusion of both average rates and average points provides a more accurate view of mortgage terms currently offered by lenders.

Every week, HSH.com conducts a survey of mortgage rate data for a wide range of consumer mortgage products including ARMs, FHA-backed and jumbo mortgages, as well as home equity loans and lines of credit from hundreds of direct lenders in the U.S. For information on additional loan products, visit HSH.com.

About HSH.com

HSH.com is a trusted source of mortgage data, trends, news and analysis. Since 1979, HSH’s market research and commentary has helped homeowners, buyers and sellers make smart financial choices and save money on mortgage and home equity products. HSH.com, of Riverdale, N.J., is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to research, find and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in ethical marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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