The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages edged up to 7.86 percent this week from 7.84 percent last week, Freddie Mac said in its weekly survey.

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

Fifteen-year mortgages, often used for refinancing, averaged 7.47 percent this week, up from 7.45 percent last week.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.49 percent this week, also up from 6.45 percent the previous week.

"Markets are a bit edgy in anticipation of possible action by the Federal Reserve when it meets next week and this is pushing interest rates higher," said Robert Van Order, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America said that mortgage loan applications for the week ending Dec. 10 decreased 3.2 percent from the previous week and were down 46.5 percent compared with the same week last year.

PERSONNEL . . . Frank D. Riggs was named president and chief executive of the Home Builders Institute, the education and training arm of the District-based National Association of Home Builders . . . Raymond A. Skinner, secretary of Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development, was elected president of the Council of State Community Development Agencies, an organization that supports the interests and goals of states, with major emphasis on community development, housing, local economic development and state-local relations . . . Case Design/Remodeling Inc., a Bethesda home improvement company, appointed George Harrop as its new chief financial officer and promoted four members to vice president positions: Bill Millholland to design/build, Bruce Case to bath/kitchen, Joaquin Erazo to marketing and public relations, and Ray Fanning to franchise operations.

AWARDS . . . Bozzuto Management Co. of Greenbelt won the Washington area Apartment & Office Building Association's Apartment Community Excellence Award for its Beacon Place project at the Kentlands in Gaithersburg . . . Deck America of Woodbridge received the National Association of Home Builders Research Center's highest National Remodeling Quality Award for excellence in quality achievement.

UPCOMING EVENTS . . . The Federal Real Property Association will hold its Annual Networking Affair Luncheon, Wednesday at Tuscana West, 1350 I St. NW, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $35, which covers year 2000 dues. There is a cash bar. For more information and to RSVP, call Dudley Ives at 202-482-0886 or send e-mail to

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