WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose slightly last week, staying near three-month lows. Rates could fall this week now that lawmakers reached a deal to avert a possible government debt default and reopen the federal government.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year loans increased to 4.28 percent from 4.23 percent the previous week. The average on 15-year fixed loans edged up to 3.33 percent from 3.31 percent.
Mortgage rates began falling last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases. The bond buys are intended to keep longer-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates. And rates stayed relatively low during the 16-day partial government shutdown.
Rates are likely to fall even lower now that Congress reached a deal to reopen the government and allow the Treasury to borrow normally until early February.
Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year note fell to 2.61 percent Thursday, down from 2.74 percent Tuesday.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t 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 was steady at 0.7 point.
The fee for 15-year loans also was unchanged at 0.7 point.
The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgages slipped to 2.63 percent from 2.64 percent and the fee held at 0.4 point.
The average rate on five-year adjustable mortgages rose to 3.07 percent from 3.05 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.