Mortgage rates inch up a bit

Posted: August 10, 2012

WASHINGTON - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose for the second straight week, staying slightly above historic lows.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.59 percent, up from 3.55 percent last week. Two weeks ago, the rate fell to 3.49 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, rose to 2.84 percent. That's up from 2.83 percent last week and a record low of 2.80 percent the previous week.

Cheap mortgages have helped drive a modest housing recovery this year. Home sales are higher than last year's, although they are still below healthy levels.

U.S. home prices are also rising. Prices for all homes, including distressed properties, jumped 2.5 percent in June from the same month in 2011, according to a report issued Tuesday by data analytics firm CoreLogic.

Builders have grown more confident after seeing increased demand for homes. In June, they increased their spending for a third straight month.

Low mortgage rates could also provide some help to the economy if more people refinance.

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