Average US mortgage rates edge up; 30-year at 4.53 percent

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged higher this week, marking their first increase since early June.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked up to 4.53 percent from 4.52 percent a week earlier.

Despite the decline in recent weeks, long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average benchmark 30-year rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24. The rate stood at 4.03 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.02 percent this week from 3.99 percent last week.

Mortgage rates have declined as investors have bought 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, causing their yield to decline. The yield peaked in May at 3.11 percent and has since dipped to 2.85 percent as market investors have sought a haven amid trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the European Union.

The yield on the 10-year note continues to hover in a narrow range, thereby keeping mortgage loan costs at bay, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater noted. That "is certainly welcoming news for those looking to buy a home before the summer ends," he said.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 0.4 point from 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year mortgages was unchanged at 0.4 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages jumped to 3.86 percent from 3.74 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.3 point.

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