WASHINGTON (AP) — The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week but remained near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the slowly recovering housing market.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.56 percent from 3.53 percent last week. That's still near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on record dating to 1971.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage stayed at 2.77 percent for a third straight week. The record low is 2.63 percent.
The cheap mortgages that are encouraging more people to buy or refinance could also help sustain the economy's recovery this year. Increased sales are helping lift home prices, which tend to make consumers feel wealthier and more likely to spend.