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

WASHINGTON — (AP) — Average long-term mortgage rates jumped this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan again breaching 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. That is its highest level since April, when it peaked at 3.18%. The key rate stood at 2.81% this time last year.

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

The increase in mortgage rates came amid continued inflation pressures as the coronavirus pandemic lingers. The government reported Wednesday that inflation at the retail level rose 0.4% in September, with its consumer price index up 5.4% over the past 12 months — matching the fastest pace since 2008.

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

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since the pandemic began early last year, a sign that the job market is still improving even as hiring has slowed in the past two months. Jobless claims dropped last week by 36,000, to 293,000, the second straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday.

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