(Newsroom America) -- Mortgage rates inched higher, rising for a seventh consecutive week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 4.18 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey.
The larger jumbo 30-year fixed inched to 4.18 percent, while the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate climbed upward to 3.42 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates were mostly unchanged, with the 5-year ARM remaining at 3.45 percent and the 7-year ARM holding steady at 3.69 percent.
Mortgage rates continue to climb, reaching the highest levels since July 2015. While the run-up in mortgage rates was driven largely by the expectation of government stimulus and more government borrowing with the new administration, the Federal Reserve's upward estimate of economic growth and projection of three interest rate hikes in the new year are continuing to drive mortgage rates upward.
Inflation will be another variable to keep an eye on as any upside surprises would force the hand of the Fed into raising interest rates even faster.
At the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 4.18 percent, the monthly payment for a $200,000 loan is $975.70.
30-year fixed: 4.18% -- up from 4.15% last week (avg. points: 0.21) 15-year fixed: 3.42% -- up from 3.40% last week (avg. points: 0.19) 5/1 ARM: 3.45% -- unchanged from 3.45% last week (avg. points: 0.30)
Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in 10 top markets.
The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. The majority, 63, percent, forecast that rates will continue to rise in the coming week, while 13 percent expect rates to go down.
The remaining experts, 25 percent, predict that rates will remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days.