The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages surged to 7.82 percent this week, the highest level in three weeks, in part responding to a signal by the Federal Reserve that it may raise short-term rates later this year.

The average was up from 7.70 percent last week, according to a weekly survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Mortgages rates have been on an upward climb this year.

The average rates on a 30-year mortgage have hit a low of 6.74 percent in late January and a high of 8.15 percent in mid-August.

Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, averaged 7.43 percent this week, also up from the average of 7.35 percent last week.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.27 percent this week, up from 6.12 percent the previous week.

IN THE NEWS . . . The National Neighborhood Coalition in Washington is looking for examples of community-based organizations that are addressing through local community development or community-building initiatives the environmental, economic and social impact of sprawl. Organizations selected will receive national recognition. To obtain a nomination form or for more information, visit or call 202-986-2096 . . . The Housing Roundtable has a new Web site, www.housingroundtable .org. Visit the site for information on public forum proceedings, news releases and board meeting schedules.

PERSONNEL . . . LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. of Richmond named G. William Evans executive vice president and chief financial officer . . . Cushman & Wakefield Inc., an international real estate services firm, made the following appointments in its Washington and McLean offices: Douglas E. Fleit, executive director; Brian R. Raher, senior director; David Webb, director; and Michael B. Katcher, associate director.

UPCOMING EVENTS . . . The District of Columbia Building Industry Association's Commercial Construction Group will sponsor a luncheon roundtable, "Permit Process Review," on Wednesday at Patton Boggs LLP, 2550 M St. NW, in the sixth-floor conference center. The cost is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. For registration or more information, call 202-966-8665 . . . The Prince William Association of Realtors in Manassas is offering a primer in real estate financing for agents (VA, conventional, creative). The course, which begins Thursday and runs through Nov. 11, will meet from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays. Cost per class is $5, or all five classes for $20. For registration or more information, call Denise Nebb at 703-368-8177 . . . The Historic Petersburg Foundation in Petersburg, Va., is sponsoring a tour of historic houses for sale, Sunday, Oct. 17, noon to 4 p.m., starting from 420 Grove Ave., Petersburg. For more information, visit or call 804-732-2096.

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