Average U.S. Rate on 30-year Loan Rises to 4.53%

weekly mortgage rates freddie mac
David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages edged higher this week for the third straight week but remained low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan rose to 4.53 percent from 4.48 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan increased to 3.55 percent from 3.52 percent.

Mortgage rates peaked in August at 4.6 percent amid expectations the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion a month in bond purchases.
The purchases push mortgage and other long-term rates lower. Last month the Fed deemed the economy strong enough for it to reduce the monthly purchases by $10 billion.

Mortgage rates are sharply higher than they were a year ago when the 30-year fixed rate was 3.35 percent and the 15-year was 2.65 percent. That's contributed to a decline in home sales over the past three months.

Still, the average for the 30-year loan has been below 5 percent for nearly three years, a trend that has made home-buying more affordable.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that U.S. construction spending rose in November at the strongest pace in more than four years, driven by solid gains in home construction and commercial projects.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday 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 rose to 0.8 point from 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan remained at 0.7 point.
  • The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.56 percent. The fee stayed at 0.5 point.
  • The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage increased to 3.05 percent from 3 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.

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famullar

GAS GAS IS UP GOLD IS DOWNAnalysts expect gas prices to decrease or remain mostly flat not only in 2014, but for years to come. Nonetheless, drivers in some states will see higher prices at the pump, starting January 1.

Gas prices may not have seemed all that cheap in 2013. But in fact, prices for the year as a whole were less expensive than they have been. According to AAA’s year-end report, American drivers paid $3.49 per gallon of regular, on average for 2013. That’s the cheapest per-gallon average since 2010; the national average was just above $3.50 in 2011 and hit $3.60 per gallon in 2012. Even so, 2013 stands as the third most expensive year for gasoline prices in U.S. history.

Looking forward, the experts predict that while gas prices will rise and fall from month to month, yet the overall trend is for prices to keep retreating in 2014. GasBuddy analysts say that thanks to increases in crude oil production at home, as well as forecasts of flat demand as consumers continue to scale back on driving and shift to more fuel-efficient cars, gas prices are likely to average under $3.40 in 2014. “When all the final figures are calculated, the average price next year will fall by about 10cts gal from 2013 numbers,” a GasBuddy post states.

AAA is predicting much of the same. “Gas prices most likely will average slightly less in 2014 as refineries continue to expand production capacity and increasingly rely on North American crude oil,” a year-end AAA post states. “Gas prices should average slightly less in 2014 if everything goes as expected, but most drivers may not even notice because the difference could be relatively small,” said AAA spokesman Avery Ash.

January 03 2014 at 8:19 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply