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Slow Business Growth(TNS)—Mortgage rates are looking stable amid an improving housing market, with Freddie Mac’s latest survey showing that lenders were offering 30-year fixed-rate home loans this week at an average interest rate of 4.02 percent, up from 4 percent a week ago.

The results of Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, released Thursday, says the average for a 15-year fixed mortgage slipped from 3.23 percent to 3.21 percent. The start rates for adjustable mortgages also fell slightly.

While higher than recent levels—Freddie’s survey showed the 30-year average at less than 3.6 percent at one point in January—the rates are still exceedingly low by historical standards and lower than a year ago, when the 30-year loan averaged 4.14 percent

Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, noted that home sales have strengthened recently as buyers anticipate that the Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates later this year.

“Buyers appear anxious to purchase homes,” Becketti says. “Given the tight inventory of homes for sale, a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, home prices are being bid up.”

Freddie Mac asks lenders each Monday through Wednesday about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers seeking mortgages of up to $417,000.

The loans must conform to guidelines set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the nation’s other major buyer and guarantor of home loans.

The borrowers would have paid an average of 0.7 percent of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain the 30-year fixed-rate loan in the latest survey.

Payments for such services as appraisals and title insurance are not included.

©2015 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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