Average US 30-year mortgage edges up slightly

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week but the benchmark 30-year low remained very close to the 19-month low hit last week.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage edged up to 3.83 percent this week from 3.80 percent last week, which had been the lowest level since May 2013.

Other mortgage rates were also up by small amounts but all remained near historically low levels that should be a boon to potential homebuyers.

The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, stood at 3.10 percent, compared to 3.09 percent last week. The rate for a one-year adjustable rate mortgage rose to 2.39 percent, compared to 2.38 percent last week.

A year ago, the 30-year mortgage stood at 4.48 percent. The recent decline in rates has come despite the October end of the Federal Reserve's monthly bond purchases which had been intended to keep long-term rates low.

At its final meeting of the year last week, the Fed said it planned to be "patient" in deciding when to begin raising its benchmark rate. Most economists believe the first rate hike will not come until June.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage remained steady at 0.6 point this week, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained steady at 0.6 point.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage edged up to 3.01 percent this week, compared to 2.95 percent last week. The fee was unchanged at 0.5 point. The fee for a one-year ARM was unchanged at 0.4 point.

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