Mortgage rates reach highest level in 2 years

By Les Christie @CNNMoney July 11, 2013: 11:44 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The 30-year mortgage rate rose to its highest level in nearly two years, according to mortgage financing company Freddie Mac.

Rates climbed 0.22 percentage points to 4.51% for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan this week, the highest it has been since July 2011. Meanwhile, the average rate for a 15-year loan hit 3.53%, up 0.14 percentage points.

Two weeks ago, a sharp spike in rates of more than half a percentage point was blamed on hints by chairman Ben Bernanke that the Fed would soon start tapering off its purchases of up to $85 billion a month in bonds and mortgage-backed securities, a stimulus program designed to keep borrowing costs low.

This time, the culprit is the economy, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage information web site.

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