Fixed-mortgage rates reversed course and ticked up this past week, but still remain near historic lows, Freddie Mac said in its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage came in at 3.57%, up from 3.54% last week and 3.99% a year earlier.

The 15-year, FRM also increased to 2.76% from 2.72%, while falling from 3.23% last year.

Meanwhile, the 5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.68%, up from 2.61% last week and down from 2.90% a year ago. 

Additionally, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM dropped to 2.62% this week, compared to 2.63% last week and was also down from 2.78% a year earlier.

"Low and relatively steady mortgage rates are invigorating the housing market. For instance, existing home sales over January and February experienced the strongest two-month pace since November 2009, while new home sales were the strongest since August and September 2008," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac.

He added, "This strong demand helped push the S&P/Case-Shiller® 20-city home price index (seasonally adjusted) in January to its highest reading since December 2008. Moreover, the number of consumers expecting to purchase a home over the next six months rose to 5.6 percent in March, the second highest share since data was first collected in February 1964, according to The Conference Board."

Bankrate data shows mortgage rates remained relatively unchanged this week.

Bankrate’s 30-year, FRM dropped to 3.75%, down from 3.78% a week earlier.

In addition, the 15-year, FRM remained unchanged from 2.97% last week and the 5/1 ARM also stayed the same at 2.71%. 

On a similar note, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that the national average contract mortgage rate for the purchase of previously occupied homes – an index for ARM loans – edged up to 3.43% in February from 3.35% in January.

Also on the rise, the average rate for a conventional, 30-year loan of $417,000 or less increased by 9 basis points to 3.62%, up from 6 basis points, or 3.53%, in January.

The interest rates depicted are determined 30 to 45 days before a loan closes. The data in the report shows the market conditions in mid- to late- January.

Raising 9 basis points from 3.46% in January, the effective interest rate, which reflects the amortization of initial fees and charges, edged up to 3.55%.

The contract rate on the composite of all mortgage loans, fixed- and adjustable-rate included, increased 8 basis points to 3.42% from 3.34% in January. 

Initial fees and charges were 0.99% of the loan balance in February, down 4 basis points from January.

Additionally, the average loan-to-price ratio in February was 77.2%, up 0.8% from 76.4% in January.

Meanwhile, the average loan amount was $258,700 last month, up from $254,700 in January.