US average mortgage rates are jumping; 30-year loan at 3.05%

WASHINGTON — Average long-term mortgage rates jumped this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan again exceeding 3%.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.05% from 2.99% last week. This is the highest level since April when it peaked at 3.18%. The key rate was 2.81% this time last year.

The 15-year loan rate, a popular option for homeowners refinancing their mortgage, rose to 2.30% from 2.23% last week.

The rise in mortgage rates came amid continued inflation pressures as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The government reported Wednesday that retail-level inflation rose 0.4% in September and the consumer price index rose 5.4% over the past 12 months, its fastest pace since 2008.

The jump in inflation this year reflects higher prices for food and energy and a range of other items, from furniture to automobiles, as the pandemic battered supply chains and demand outstripped supply.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has fallen to its lowest level since the pandemic began early last year; this is a sign that the job market is still improving, although hiring has slowed in the last two months. Jobless claims fell 36,000 to 293,000 last week, the second consecutive decline, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

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