Mortgage rates rise to 3.98 percent


(Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The average 30-year mortgage rate rose to 3.98 percent Thursday, reflecting a 0.10 percentage point jump after setting a new historic low last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Despite the jump, the 30-year fixed rate has remained below 4 percent for eight weeks, and the Federal Reserve yesterday indicated it plans to keep interest rates at zero for some time.

The 15-year fixed rate, which many homeowners have used with more popularity to refinance, also rose 0.07 percentage points to 3.24 from 3.17 percent last week.

Several data points in the past couple of weeks point to a stabilizing national housing market, as confidence among home builders grew in January and existing home sales rose 5 percent.

Locally, data released yesterday showed the last three months of 2011 dragged, as home prices fell an average 5.5 percent. The region was affected by the temporarily elimination of higher loan limits backed by the federal government and lower inventory.

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