Average US rate on 30-year mortgage up for 3rd straight week

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up for the third straight week.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.85 percent this week from 3.80 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.07 percent from 3.02 percent. Both rates were the highest since mid-March.

Still, mortgage rates remain low by historic standards. A year ago, the 30-year rate was 4.20 percent and the 15-year was 3.29 percent.

Long-term mortgage rates are rising along with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes, which is up to 2.24 percent from less than 1.9 percent in mid-April. The higher rates reflect some signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate tumbled last month to 5.4 percent, lowest since May 2008.

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 and for a 15-year mortgage were both unchanged from last week at 0.6 point.

The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages slipped to 2.89 percent this week from 2.90 percent; the fee was 0.5 point, up from 0.4 point last week. The rate on one-year ARMs averaged 2.48 percent, up from 2.46 percent last week; the fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.

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