WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. mortgage rates rose this week but remained near historic lows. Cheaper mortgages have encouraged more home buying and refinancing.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage edged up to 3.42 percent from 3.35 percent last week. That's still near the average of 3.31 percent reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed-rate loan rose to 2.61 percent from 2.56 percent last week, which was the lowest on records going back to 1991.
Low mortgage rates have buttressed the housing recovery that began last year. Home sales and construction are up from a year ago, and prices are rising in most U.S. markets.