WASHINGTON (AP) - Rates for 30-year home loans edged up this week, remaining above record lows reached over the spring.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.42 percent, up from 5.38 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.
"Mixed economic reports on the state of the housing market helped hold mortgage rates fairly flat," Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a statement.
Rates on 30-year mortgages fell to a record low of 4.78 percent earlier this year. But then they rose as high as 5.6 percent earlier this month after yields on long-term government debt, which are closely tied to mortgages rate, climbed as investors worried that the huge surplus of government debt hitting the market could trigger inflation.
Since then, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has fallen back from an 8-month high of 4.01 percent reached last week to 3.61 percent early Thursday afternoon.
Though there are signs the troubled U.S. housing market is beginning to stabilize, higher rates could threaten or slow down any recovery, since prospective buyers would be able to borrow less money and might decide to hold off on their purchases.
Economists worry that the housing market is so fragile that rates that would have seemed attractive a decade ago are no longer very enticing.
Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.
The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.87 percent, down from 4.89 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.99 percent, up from 4.97 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.93 percent from 4.95 percent.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for all loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.7 point.
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