Mortgage Rates Continue to Rise

The average U.S. interest rate on 30-year mortgages rose to a level seen in mid-August, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac (FRE) said Thursday.

U.S. 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.80 percent this week, a level reached in the Aug. 18 week, Freddie Mac said in its weekly survey. Fifteen-year mortgages averaged 5.37 percent, inching up from 5.32 percent last week.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages (search) (ARMs) averaged 4.48 percent in the week compared with 4.46 percent last week.

A year ago, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.70 percent, 15-year mortgages 5.10 percent and the ARM 4.00 percent.

"Mortgage rates look like they are back on track where the Fed wants them, which is gradually rising," Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (search) voted for the 11th straight time to raise the federal funds rate, this time to 3.75 percent.

"Freddie Mac's economic forecast calls for a cooling of the housing market going into next year, and gently rising rates are part of that scenario," Nothaft also said.

Also on Tuesday, the Commerce Department (search) said U.S. August housing starts fell 1.3 percent to an annual rate of 2.009 million units.

Freddie Mac said lenders charged an average of 0.6 percent in fees and points on 30-year mortgages, unchanged from last week. They charged 0.7 percent on 15-year mortgages and the one-year ARM, both up from 0.6 percent a week earlier.

The hybrid "5/1" ARM, set at a fixed rate for five years, then adjustable each year following, averaged 5.31 percent, up from 5.26 percent a week ago, Freddie Mac said.

Freddie Mac is a mortgage finance company chartered by Congress that buys mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities to sell to investors or to hold in its own portfolio.