Mortgage rates hit their highest level since April 1997 amid fears that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates higher next month.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages climbed to 8.18 percent for the week ending Jan. 14, up from 8.15 percent last week, according to a weekly survey released Thursday by Freddie Mac. It matched the rate for April 4, 1997.

The last time rates were higher than 8.18 percent was Sept. 13, 1996, when rates on the 30-year mortgage hit 8.28 percent.

Fifteen-year mortgages, often used in refinancing, also were up, with an average rate of 7.78 percent, up from the average rate of 7.73 percent last week.

On one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 6.61 percent, up from 6.60 percent the previous week.

PERSONNEL . . .

The D.C. Council confirmed six District residents to the D.C. Real Estate Board for terms ranging from one to three years. They are real estate brokers Edward Collier, Connie Maffin and Helen Dodson; real estate salesperson Donald C. King; consumer member Bradley M. Lewis; and attorney Nelson Deckelbaum . . . Terrence P. Lee has been named president of RealTech, a commercial and multifamily real estate investment and management company headquartered in Vienna . . . The National Neighborhood Coalition, consisting of national, regional and local nonprofit organizations committed to the needs of central-city neighborhoods and low- and moderate-income Americans, elected 30 members to its board of directors; two people who previously served as at-large members were named vice chairs. They are Susan Sunclair-Smith and British Robinson.

UPCOMING EVENTS . . .

The Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association's Building Construction Division is beginning a series of open-house sessions. Commercial construction sessions will be held on the third Wednesday of the month; the first is this Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Metro Center, 255 Rockville Pike, suite 400. Residential sessions will be held the second Wednesday of each month. Discussion issues can be faxed to 301-217-6381. For information, call Shahriar Amri at 301-217-6224 . . . The reservations deadline for the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association's General Membership Dinner Meeting is Friday. The dinner will be held Jan. 27 at the Bethesda Marriott on 5151 Pooks Hill Rd. at 6 p.m. The cost is $50 for the first registrant and $46 for each additional. On-site registration will be $65 for members and $100 for nonmembers . . . The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors will sponsor continuing education courses this week at its Baltimore area office, 1306 Bellona Ave., Lutherville: Tuesday, Fair Housing, 10 to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $15 for members and $30 for nonmembers; Friday, Appraisal Class--USPAP Update, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $90 for members and $110 for nonmembers. There is an additional $5 charge at the door for both classes. For information, call 410-337-7200.

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