WASHINGTON - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages surged this week to their highest levels two years, and the rate on the 30-year loan jumped by the most in 26 years.
The increase is evidence that the Federal Reserve's comments about possibly reducing its bond purchases are already affecting consumers.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average on the 30-year loan jumped to 4.46 percent. That's up from 3.93 percent last week and is the highest since July 2011. The increase was also the biggest since April 1987.
The rate on the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.50 percent from 3.04 percent last week. That's the highest since August 2011.
Interest rates jumped after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed could slow its bond purchases this year if the economy strengthens.