The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages edged down to 7.93 percent this week from its highest level in more than two years, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average was down from 8.15 percent last week, which was the highest rate since early April 1997.

Mortgages rates recently have been climbing. So far this year, average rates on a 30-year mortgage have ranged from a low of 6.74 percent in late January to a high of 8.15 percent last week.

Fifteen-year mortgages, often used for refinancing, averaged 7.53 percent this week, down from the average of 7.70 percent last week.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.18 percent this week, also down from 6.24 percent the previous week.

Robert Van Order, chief economist at McLean-based Freddie Mac, said that interest rates began to fall back after government reports showed that inflation at the wholesale and retail levels was tame.

Nonetheless, Van Order, along with many other economists, believes that the Federal Reserve will nudge up interest rates next week for the second time this year.

Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday that mortgage loan applications for the week ending Aug. 13 were down 3.3 percent from the previous week and down 26 percent compared with the same week last year.

PERSONNEL . . . Weichert Realtors Inc. named Valerie Huffman vice president of education for the Capital Region . . . Winford T. Houdeshell was named director of maintenance and director of training and education for Premiere Services Inc. of McLean . . .MacKenzie Contracting Corp. of Baltimore named Brian Werner and Camille Wyatt project managers . . . CFM Management Services of McLean appointed Katie Allardyce vice president of community services . . . Laura E. Henne was appointed vice president for M/B Residential in Alexandria.

AWARDS . . . The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Architecture Institute of America awarded Liminality LLP of Washington an Excellence for Interiors award for its design of the headquarters of Airbus Industrie of North America in Herndon.

EVENTS . . . McEnearney Associates Inc. Realtors of McLean will host its first Golf Tournament for Children's Hospital on Sept. 23 at the South Riding Golfers' Club in South Riding, Va. For more information, call Bob Adamson or Jane DeSelm at 703-790-9090.

Send realty announcements to Brian Krebs, Real Estate Notes, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.