"The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 6.71 percent on Tuesday, from 6.44 percent on Friday, according to HSH Associates, a publisher of consumer rates. The average rate for so-called jumbo loans, which cannot be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was 7.8 percent, the highest since December 2000.
Loan rates are rising because of concern in the financial markets about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee nearly half of the nation’s $12 trillion mortgage market.
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The rise in rates is of greatest concern for homeowners whose mortgages required them to pay only the interest on their loans for the first few years. If such borrowers are unable to refinance into lower-cost loans, many of them will face the prospect of having to pay both interest and principal at higher, adjustable rates.
For borrowers with a $400,000 loan, such a jump could send their monthly payments to $2,338 from $1,417, estimates Louis S. Barnes, a mortgage broker at Boulder West Financial in Boulder, Colo.
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'When we get to rate levels like this, the market just shuts down,' Mr. Barnes said".