RISMEDIA, May 2, 2008-Fixed mortgage rates inched upward for the third week in a row, with the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 6.16%. According to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders, the average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.36 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing is now 5.71%, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate nosed up to 7.35%. Adjustable mortgage rates were no exception, with the average 5/1 ARM rising to 5.96% while the average 1-year ARM soared to 6.96%.

The turmoil that was so prevalent in credit markets earlier in the year has given way to smoother waters in recent weeks. Accordingly, fixed mortgage rates have been comparatively placid in contrast to the wild gyrations seen during the first quarter. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds. Short of a crisis in the credit markets, the Federal Reserve is expected to hold off from further interest rate cuts. But mortgage rates could still be volatile in the weeks ahead.

Additional signs of economic weakness, such as another poor employment report for April, would likely push mortgage rates down. Inflation is a risk as well, and could propel rates higher in the weeks ahead.

Mortgage rates have been on a wild ride since the beginning of the year. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was as low as 5.57% in January, meaning that a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,144.38. In February, the average 30-year fixed rate got as high as 6.41%, which meant the same $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,252.32. Today, with the average rate at 6.16%, a $200,000 loan would mean a monthly payment of $1,219.75.

30-year fixed: 6.16% — up from 6.11% last week (avg. points: 0.36)
15-year fixed: 5.71% — up from 5.70% last week (avg. points: 0.39)
5/1 ARM: 5.96% — up from 5.92% last week (avg. points: 0.44)

Bankrate’s national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

For more information, visit http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates