Freddie Mac reported a jump in fixed mortgage rates this week. 

The 30-year fixed rate rose 16 basis points to 5.12% and 15-year rates gained 15 basis points to 4.80%.

This follows 11 weeks of steady declines with the 30-year rate back to rate levels of late December/early January. 

On the adjustable mortgage side, 5/1 hybrid ARM rates slipped one basis point to 5.24%, while the one-year ARM rate was up just three basis points to 4.92%. 

As the Mortgage Banker Association's report showed, as mortgage rates gained in the week ending January 16, refinancing activity declined 12.4% to 6491.8. 

Given that Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner earlier today reiterated the Federal Reserve's goal to push mortgage rates down toward 4.5%, many borrowers will likely hold off in applying for a loan until mortgage rates dip back below 5%. 

Despite attractive mortgage rate levels, mortgage application activity has also been limited by the poor state of the housing market, as well as, ongoing tight or tightening underwriting conditions as noted in the recent Beige Book report.

The latest round of housing news had  the  National Association of Home Builders Index fell to a record low of 8 in January. Meanwhile, Housing Starts for December fell 15.5% to 550k, its lowest level on record, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency  reported its Purchase-Only Home Price Index declined 1.8% in November and is down 8.7% year over year.

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