WASHINGTON – The average U.S. rate on 30-year fixed mortgages rose last week to its highest level in seven months but remains near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the gradually recovering housing market.
Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans rose to 3.63 percent from 3.52 percent the previous week.
Its the highest rate since August. But its still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record dating to 1971.
The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgages rose to 2.79 percent, up from 2.76 percent a week earlier . The record low is 2.63 percent.
Cheap mortgages are encouraging more people to buy or refinance and are helping sustain the economys recovery. The increased sales are also helping lift home prices.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesnt include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for 30-year mortgages rose to 0.8 point, up from 0.7 point the previous week. The fee for 15-year loans also rose to 0.8 point from 0.7 point a week earlier.