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U.S. interest rates rise on stronger data

  |   Feb. 10, 2011 at 2:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Average interest rates for 30- and 15-year mortgages rose in the week ending Feb. 10, the U.S. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said Thursday.

The average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose from 4.81 percent to 5.05 percent with 0.7 points. Average interest rates for 15-year contracts rose from 4.08 percent to 4.29 percent with 0.7 points, Freddie Mac said.

Rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages a year ago stood at 4.34 percent. Rates for 30-year mortgages a year ago averaged 4.97 percent.

Positive economic data is pushing rates higher, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's vice president and chief economist.

"For all of 2010, non-farm productivity rose 3.6 percent, the most since 2002, while January's unemployment rate unexpectedly fell from 9.4 percent to 9 percent. Moreover, the service industry expanded in January at the fastest pace since August 2005," Nothaft said.

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