Mortgage interest rates increased for the first time in two months to move away from historic lows while remaining considerably lower than a year ago. Freddie Mac said its Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.39% this week from 4.17% a week earlier. The average rate for the conventional 30-year loan was 4.83% a year ago. The average rate for a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage climbed to 3.76% from 3.57% a week earlier but is down from 4.32% a year ago, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. “Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were up to the highest level since early August and rates on shorter-maturity loans rose as well, although by somewhat lesser amounts,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. He said the housing market appears to be “showing some potential gains,” although single-family home construction slid 1.1% in October. Nothaft pointed to stronger homebuilder confidence, which is at the highest level since June, and increased home prices in half of the largest metropolitan areas across the country during the third quarter as possible bright spots in the space. Although, multiple home price indices are showing housing prices have begun to fall after climbing most of the year. And analysts expect continued declines through 2011. Freddie Mac said the average five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage climbed to 3.4% this week from 3.25% a week earlier but is down from 4.25% a year ago. The average rate for a one-year, ARM remained flat with the week ago at 3.26%, although it’s down from 4.35% at this time last year. Write to Jason Philyaw.
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