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Interest Rates Headed In Two Directions

Interest Rates Headed In Two Directions

Credit card rates are rising but mortgage rates are still falling

July 30th, 2012 by Mark Huffman of ConsumerAffairs in News

The cost of borrowing money is both rising and falling, depending on the type of loan you need. In the last week credit card interest rates rose while mortgage rates kept falling.

In its weekly Credit Card Rate Report, reports the rates on news credit card offers rose this week. The average is comprised of 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing every card category. Introductory "teaser" rates are not included in the calculation.

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) on new card offers climbed to 14.97 percent this week -- the highest it's been since March.

The jump in rates can be linked to changes by Chase and Capital One. Chase raised the APR on two of its business cards, the Business Ink card and the Ink Cash card. Both cards previously featured a flat APR of 10.24 percent and now feature an APR of 13.24 percent.

Record low rates

Money is a lot cheaper if you can qualify for a home mortgage. Freddie Mac reports fixed rate mortgage rates continue to reach record lows.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.49 percent, more than a full percentage point lower than a year ago when it averaged 4.55 percent. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, a popular choice for those looking to refinance, also set another record low at 2.80 percent.

While recent signs have supported hope the housing market is recovering, the mortgage market is spending other signals.

"Market concerns over the strength of the economic recovery brought long-term Treasury yields to new lows this week allowing fixed mortgage rates to reach record levels," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. "The Conference Board Leading Economic Index showed the largest monthly decline in June since September 2011. Existing home sales fell to 4.36 million homes in June and represented the slowest pace since October 2011. Similarly, new home sales fell in June to their lowest level since January of this year."

Who's credit-worthy?

With mortgage rates at record lows, you might expect that would spur a big increase in sales. Realtors say it would, except that many credit-worthy buyers can't qualify for a loan.

Mortgage lenders, of course, have different ideas about who is credit-worthy. Generally, banks want to see a credit score of 720 or above and at least 20 percent as a down payment.