Mortgage rates idle
WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages crept higher this week but remained low by historical standards.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.48 percent from 4.47 percent last week. The average rate on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.52 percent from 3.51 percent.
Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August on expectations that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases. Those purchases push mortgage and other long-term rates lower and encourage borrowing and spending.
Mortgage rates are higher than a year ago, when the 30-year fixed rate was 3.35 percent and the 15-year was 2.65 percent.
The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that new-home sales dipped 2.1 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted 464,000. But stronger figures for the previous three months suggested housing may be regaining strength.