Mortgage interest rates took a jump upward during the week ended December 13 and December 14 according to information released by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association respectively.

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 6.11 percent with 0.5 point compared to the previous week when it averaged 5.96 percent with 0.4 point. One year ago the average was 6.12 percent.

The 15-year FRM was up 13 basis points from a week earlier when it averaged 6.65 percent. Fees and points both weeks averaged 0.5 point. During the same week in 2006 the 15-year averaged 6.12 percent.

Long term FRM rates had been trending down in Freddie Mac's report since early November whereas the two types of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) tracked by its survey have been see-sawing on a weekly basis. In the most recent report the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 5.89 percent with 0.6 point compared to 5.75 percent with 0.5 point a week earlier. One year ago the 5-year averaged 5.92 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMS averaged 5.5 percent, up slightly from the previous week when it was at 5.46 percent. Points held steady at 0.6. This is only one basis point higher than the short term ARM averaged one year earlier.

"November's employment report showed stronger job growth, no change in the unemployment rate and a jump in wages, suggesting to some market participants that the probability of an upcoming recession might be lower than originally thought," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "This led to a rise in interest rates for U.S. Treasury securities this week and mortgage rates followed.

"However, against that backdrop, serious delinquencies (90 days or more delinquent or in foreclosure) on prime conventional mortgages rose to 1.31 percent in the third quarter of 2007 from 0.79 percent in the same quarter in 2006. And serious delinquencies for subprime loans rose to 11.38 percent from 6.78 percent over the same period, so the housing segment of the economy still has a way to go before bottoming out."

The MBA's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed different numbers from the Freddie Mac report, but a similar trend.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 6.18 percent from 6.07 percent, with points, including the origination fee decreasing to 1.12 from 1.17.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 5.78 percent from 5.72 percent, with points increasing to 1.10 from 1.01 and the average contract interest rate for one-year ARMs increased to 6.48 percent from 6.31 percent, with points decreasing to 0.95 from 0.97.

Mortgage applications activity was weak; the seasonally adjusted measure of volume was down 19.5 percent from a week earlier while activity on an unadjusted basis was off 21.3 percent. It was up 1.7 percent compared with the same week one year earlier.

Refinancing was also proceeding at a lower pace. The refinance share of total applications dropped to 53.2 from 57.6 percent the previous week. Applications for adjustable rate mortgages were up slightly as a market share, increasing from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent over the two weeks.