US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.56 pct.By MARCY GORDON
The Associated Press | February 22,2013WASHINGTON ó The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week but remained near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the slowly recovering housing market.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.56 percent from 3.53 percent last week.
Thatís still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record dating to 1971.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage stayed at 2.77 percent for a third straight week. The record low is 2.63 percent.
The cheap mortgages that are encouraging more people to buy or refinance could also help sustain the economyís recovery this year.
Increased sales are helping lift home prices, which tend to make consumers feel wealthier and more likely to spend. And when homeowners refinance, it typically leads to lower loan payments and more spending. Consumer spending drives nearly 70 percent of economic activity.
Sales of previously occupied homes in the U.S. rose in January to the second-highest level in three years, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.
Analysts say the pace of purchases would be higher still if more homes were available.
The supply of homes for sale dropped to nearly an eight-year low in January. The limited supply has boosted demand for construction, which has made builders more confident.
Still, the housing market has a long way to go to a full recovery. And many people are unable to take advantage of the low rates, either because they canít qualify for stricter lending rules or they lack the money for larger down payment requirements.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week.
The average doesnít 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 loans was unchanged at 0.8 point. The fee for 15-year loans also remained at 0.8 point.
The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 2.65 percent from 2.61 percent last week.
The fee for one-year adjustable-rate loans rose to 0.4 point from 0.3.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage was steady at 2.64 percent. The fee slipped to 0.5 point from 0.6.MORE IN National / World Business
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Gas Systems puts Phase 2 on hold as the latest estimate for Phase 1 takes a 27 percent leap upward, to a total of $157 million; U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin quits for job with private firm; police cite man in pot bust.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Christmas bombing of North Vietnam ordered by President Richard Nixon, most lethal strikes of the war; in 1989, U.S. invades Panama to depose, arrest and charge Gen. Manuel Noriega with drug trafficking, racketeering.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Gov. Peter Shumlin announces demise of his single-payer health insurance initiative; convicted first-degree murderer Alan Prue sentenced to 50 years for killing teacher Melissa Jenkins; veterans chafed about park naming snub.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 497 BC, first Saturnalia festival celebrated in Rome, Scandinavians retain 'Yule Goat' as symbol of season, Krampus, evil side of holiday cheer, terrorizes children into better behavior, more advice from Christopher Hitchens.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 533 AD, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I gets the old empire back together again routing the Vandals from Carthage; in 1890, Lakota Chief Sitting Bull is killed at his home in South Dakota; in 1970, Soviets land probe on Venus.
- DUANE CARLETON: Rutland Herald Events Editor George Nostrand interviews musician Duane Carleton, whose new CD 'A GIRL LIKE THAT' drops Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, and will be celebrated that evening with a show at 9:30 p.m. at Killington's Pickle Barrel.