Mortgage rates started off 2000 by hitting their highest levels since August amid fears that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 8.15 percent for the week ending Jan. 7, up from 8.06 percent last week, according to a weekly survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

Before late August, the last time mortgage rates were this high was April 18, 1997, when they reached 8.16 percent.

Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, also were up this week with an average rate of 7.73 percent this week, up from the average rate of 7.66 percent last week.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.60 percent this week, up from 6.56 percent the previous week.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points, which averaged at or just over 1 percent of the loan amount for all three types of mortgages.

PERSONNEL . . . The Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute, a nonprofit organization for community associations, elected Lucia Anna Trigiani president and Kevin D. Cavanaugh vice president . . . The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors elected Julia Kriss chairman.

UPCOMING EVENTS . . . The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors will present "HUD in Action," a tour of HUD and its programs, Tuesday at the Baltimore HUD Office, 10 South Howard St., fifth floor, conference rooms 5A and 5B, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $55 for members and $90 for nonmembers. A catered lunch with Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R-Md.) is included. The group also will sponsor several continuing education courses this week at its Baltimore area office, 1306 Bellona Ave., Lutherville: Appraisal Math and Statistics Review, Monday, 6 to 9 p.m.; Negotiating Strategies, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Stigmatized Properties, Thursday, 1 to 2:30 p.m.; Risk Management: Advertising, Thursday, 3 to 4:30 p.m.; Relocation Appraisals, Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you pre-register, costs range from $15 to $90 for members and $30 to $100 for nonmembers; additional $5 at the door. For more information, call 410-337-7200 . . . Long & Foster Realtors will hold a free seminar on real estate careers Tuesday at its Georgetown office, 2121 Wisconsin Ave. NW. To register, contact Darrell Parson at 202-944-8400 . . . The Washington Building Congress will present a panel discussion, "Knowledge Capture: The Art of Collaboration," covering electronic sharing of information in the construction industry, on Thursday at the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $45 for members and $65 for nonmembers. For more information, call 202-293-5922 . . . Coldwell Banker Stevens Realtors will offer a class, Principles and Practices of Real Estate, at its Severna Park office, 484-C Ritchie Highway. The course for would-be real estate agents involves 60 hours of classwork; it runs Jan. 18 through Feb. 19. The cost is $75, books and materials included. For more information and hours, call Lenny Urban or Karen Salvarola at 301-261-1129.

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