Mortgage Rates Surge to 5-Year High

Problems with Freddie, Fannie threaten further woes for housing market
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2008 7:40 AM CDT
Mortgage Rates Surge to 5-Year High
The Freddie Mac Corporate Office in McLean, Va.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Mortgage rates rose yesterday to a 5-year high of 6.71% as investors worried that—even with government intervention—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wouldn’t play as big a role in the $12 trillion US mortgage market as in the past, reports the New York Times. The rising rates threaten to further depress the struggling housing market.

“When we get to rate levels like this, the market just shuts down,” one expert said. On Friday, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 6.44%, while jumbo loan rates hit their highest level since 2000 at 7.8%. Lawmakers are expected to vote this week to authorize the Treasury Department to pump money into Fannie and Freddie or buy up shares. (More Freddie Mac stories.)

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