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Fixed mortgage rates continue to trend higher: Freddie Mac

Fixed mortgage rates continued an upward trend from last week, amid a strengthening economy, led in part by the housing recovery, Freddie Mac said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey. 

The 30-year, fixed-rate hit 3.53% for the week ending Jan. 31, up from 3.42% last week, but down from 3.87% a year earlier. 

The 15-year, FRM also rose to 2.81%, up from 2.71% a week earlier, but down from 3.15% last year.

Meanwhile, the 5-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.70% this past week, up from 2.67% last week, but down from 2.80% a year earlier.

Additionally, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59% this week, up from 2.57% last week, but down from 2.76% last year.

"Mortgage rates continued to trend upwards this week amid a growing economy led in part by the recovering housing market," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac. 

He added, "For instance, new home sales totaled 367,000 in 2012, the most in three years and reflected the first annual increase in seven years. Pending home sales in 2012 averaged its highest reading since 2006. And the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city composite house price index rose 5.5% over the 12-months ending in November 2012, the largest annual growth since August 2006. All of these factors helped residential fixed investment to add nearly 0.4 percentage points to real GDP growth in the fourth quarter alone."

Bankrate data also shows mortgage rates reaching the "biggest one week increase since last March." 

The Bankrate 30-year, FRM rose to 3.77% this week, up from 3.66% a week earlier. The 15-year, FRM also rose to 3.03%, up from 2.94% last week and the 5/1 ARM increased to 2.78%, up from 2.71% from the previous week.

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