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Mortgage rates rise as housing ends year on high note

Average mortgage rates climbed this week as the housing market ended 2011 on a high note, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of rates. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.98% for the week ending Jan. 26, reversing its previous three-week trend of setting all-time record lows. Still, this marks the eighth consecutive week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has remained below 4%. Last week it averaged 3.88% and last year at this time it was at 4.8%. Average mortgage rates climbed this week as the housing market ended 2011 on a high note, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of rates. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.98% for the week ending Jan. 26, reversing its previous three-week trend of setting all-time record lows. Still, this marks the eighth consecutive week the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has remained below 4%. Last week it averaged 3.88% and last year at this time it was at 4.8%. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 7 basis points this week to 4.25%, according to the Bankrate national survey of large lenders. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.24% with an average 0.8 point, up from last week's 3.17%. A year ago at this time it averaged 4.09%. The 15-year FRM rose 6 basis points to 3.45% in the large-bank Bankrate survey. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.85% with an average 0.7 point, up from 2.82% last wek and down from 3.7% a year ago. The 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.74% this week with an average 0.6 point, matching last week. A year ago it was higher 3.26%. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, at Freddie Mac, said rates ticked up as the housing sector ended 2011 with positive news. New construction on single-family homes rose 4.4% in December to an annualized rate of 470,000, the most since April 2010. Homebuilder confidence this month at its highest level since June 2007. Existing-home sales increased 5% at the end of the year to 4.61 million houses, the largest amount since May 2010, and pending sales in November and December averaged the highest reading since the March-April 2010 period. The average interest rate on mortgages sold to the government-sponsored enterprises fell 8 basis points to 4.32% in December, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA bases its average rates on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage purchases of $417,000 or less. The national average contract mortgage rate to buy previously occupied homes, used as an index in some adjustable-rate contracts, was 4.15% based on loans closed in December. This is a decrease of 0.07% from the previous month. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.

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