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Fixed mortgage rates move higher: Freddie Mac

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Fixed mortgage rates ticked up last week, but remain affordable enough to provide juice for the ongoing housing recovery, Freddie Mac said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit 3.42% for the week ending Jan. 24, up from 3.38% last week, but down from 3.98% a year earlier.

The 15-year, FRM also rose to 2.71%, up from 2.66% a week earlier, but down from 3.24% last year.

Meanwhile, the 5-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage hit 2.67%, unchanged from last week, but down from 2.85% last year.

The 1-year, Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.57% this past week, which is unchanged from the previous report.

"Fixed mortgage rates were up slightly over the holiday week but remain highly affordable and should continue to aid in the ongoing housing recovery," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. "For instance, existing home sales totaled 4.65 million in 2012, showing a 9.2 percent increase over 2011and the strongest pace in five years. In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s purchase-only house price index rose 5.7 percent over the 12 months ending in November 2012, marking the largest annual increase since June 2006."

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