US mortgage rates stop falling

Mortgage rates have stopped falling this week for the first time in five weeks. Additionally, Senate passes bill to provide tax cuts for losses subprime lenders face.

As the Federal Reserve's interest rate cuts are made, this week proved to the first time in five weeks that mortgage rates increased. They are still historically below averages, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage rates here ended this week at 5.68 per cent for the week ending Thursday, on 30 year fixed rate loans. Last Thursday, rates were 5.48 per cent. At this same point last year, the rate was 6.34 per cent.

15-year loans also saw an increase. Last week they were at 4.95 per cent but this week they are up to 5.17 per cent. Compared to a year ago, though, they are low. Last year at this time, the rate was 6.06 per cent.

Additionally, the housing market's subprime lenders may also get a break in the form of tax breaks through a US Senate Stimulus Plan. The plan would allow for subprime lenders as well as banks and homebuilders who saw record profit lost last year to receive tax breaks this year. These businesses would be able to report operating losses they have in 2007 as well as 2008 towards a refund based on any of the last five years.

Banks alone have lost some US $145 billion in write downs and credit losses.