Mortgage rates hold steady in week

Feb. 21, 2013 at 1:59 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Long-term U.S. mortgage rates were little changed for the fourth consecutive week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said Thursday.

Rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages climbed from 3.53 percent with an average 0.8 point to 3.56 percent after three weeks of no change, Freddie Mac said.

Rates for 15-year contracts, however, remained unchanged in the latest survey with interest holding at 2.77 percent with an average 0.8 point.

One point is equal to 1 percent of the amount of the loan and is typically paid up front. It includes a corresponding discount on the loan's long-term interest rates.

Interest rates for five-year adjustable rate mortgages held steady at 2.64 percent with an average of 0.5 points. One-year adjustable rate mortgages using 10-year bonds as a benchmark, averaged 2.65 percent with 0.4 point in the week, up from 2.61 percent in the previous week.

Rates holding steady near record lows was helping to spur home construction said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.

"For instance, new construction on single-family houses rose to an annualized rate of 613,000 in January, the most since July 2008," he said.

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