The Associated Press

Washington: Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week yet remained below 4 per cent for a 12th straight week.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.82 per cent from 3.76 per cent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.03 per cent from 2.99 per cent.

Despite the increase, rates remained well below last year’s levels, providing an inducement for potential homebuyers.

A year ago, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 3.97 per cent, while the rate for 15-year loans was 3.18 per cent.

In recent days, two influential members of the Federal Reserve’s policymaking body spoke in favour of postponing an increase in its key short-term interest rate. The Fed has been expected to raise the benchmark rate later this year for the first time in nine years.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of 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 per cent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage held steady from last week at 0.6 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also remained at 0.6 point.

The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.88 per cent; the fee remained at 0.4 point. The average rate on one-year ARMs declined to 2.54 per cent from 2.55 per cent; the fee was steady at 0.2 point.