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Mortgage rates creep back up

December 10, 2009 | 10:30 am

Bouncing off record lows, the average interest paid on home loans edged higher this week although fixed rates are still well under 5% for those who have escaped the recession with solid credit and can muster 20% down.

Freddie Mac, the government-backed buyer and guarantor of residential mortgages, said those lucky borrowers were getting 30-year fixed loans at an average 4.81% for the week ending today after paying 0.7% of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discounts points. The average rate for a 15-year fixed loan averaged 4.32% with 0.6 % in fees and points. 

During the previous week, 30-year rates averaged 4.71%, an all-time low for the Freddie survey.  Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.47%, Freddie said in a news release this morning.

Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft said an upbeat report on unemployment had pushed long-term bond yields higher and mortgage rates followed, as they generally do.

Nothaft noted that with 30-year fixed rates almost 0.7 percentage points lower than at the same time last year, someone signing up for a $400,000 conventional mortgage would pay $162 less per month now compared to then.

-- E. Scott Reckard