US 30-year mortgage rate falls for 3rd week to average 2.88%

WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates were mixed this week. The benchmark 30-year loan fell for the third straight week amid lingering concerns over the recent surge in inflation.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported today that the average for the 30-year home loan eased to 2.88% from 2.90% last week, down from its peak this year of 3.18% in April. The key rate stood at 2.98% a year ago.

The rate for a 15-year loan, a popular option among homeowners refinancing their mortgages, edged up to 2.22% from 2.20% last week.

Freddie Mac economists expect economic growth to gradually push mortgage rates higher in the second half of the year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell addressed the concerns on inflation, which has been rising in in recent months as the recovery from the pandemic recession strengthens. He suggested in testimony to a U.S. House committee Wednesday that inflation “will likely remain elevated” in coming months before “moderating.” At the same time, Powell signaled no imminent change in the Fed’s ultra-low interest rate policies.

In the latest sign of intensified inflation pressure, the government reported Tuesday that prices paid by U.S. consumers surged in June by the most in 13 years. It was the third straight month that inflation has jumped.

Further evidence came today that the economy and job market are quickly rebounding: the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week reached its lowest level since the pandemic struck last year. The weekly tally showed that jobless claims fell by 26,000, to 360,000.