Average US 30-Year-Mortgage Rate Up to 4.37 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose last week, but remained close to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent, from 4.28 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.38 percent, from 3.32 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows roughly a year ago.

The increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85-billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. Deeming the economy to be gaining strength, the Fed announced in December and January that it was reducing its monthly bond purchases.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year note traded at 2.73 percent Wednesday, up from 2.71 percent a week earlier.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and 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 a 30-year mortgage declined to 0.6 points, from 0.7 points last week. The fee for a 15-year loan was unchanged at 0.6 points.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.48 percent, from 2.52 percent. The average fee rose to 0.4 points, from 0.3 points.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage increased to 3.09 percent, from 3.03 percent. The fee held steady at 0.4 points.