Mortgage rates around the country rose this week but are still at levels that should continue to provide support to the vibrant housing market, analysts said.
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.7 percent this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly survey. That was up from 5.64 percent last week.
Rates on 30-year mortgages hit a high this year of 6.34 percent the week of May 13. Since then, rates had drifted lower as inflation fears eased.
Wall Street investors more recently have been trying to sort through a mixed bag of economic reports to get a feel for the economy's direction.
"The slight increase in mortgage rates this week was due in large part to volatility in long-term bond yields. The uncertainty in bond yields reflected weakness in the manufacturing industry that was offset by economic reports of strength in the service sector," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rates averaged 5.08 percent, up from 5.01 percent last week.
For one-year adjustable rate mortgages, rates averaged 4 percent this week, compared with 3.96 percent last week.
The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Each loan type carried a 0.6 point fee.
Low mortgage rates have aided the housing market, which is expect to have record-high sales for all of 2004.
"When taken as a whole, this week's economic data point toward both low mortgage rates and a growing economy, both of which are good news for current homeowners looking to refinance and for families hoping to become homeowners," Nothaft said.
A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 5.94 percent, with 15-year mortgages at 5.26 percent and one-year ARMs at 3.74 percent.
PROGRAMS . . . The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Home & Garden Television are co-sponsoring a program to offer preservation grants of up to $100,000, with winning projects getting renovation funds and TV time. HGTV's Restore America program is to award six to 12 grants next year for residential rehabilitation projects. Nonprofit organizations and public agencies may apply. Grant applications must be postmarked by Nov. 30. For information on grant guidelines, call the trust's office is 202-588-6107. Applications can be obtained online at www.nationaltrust.org/restore_america/ra_grants.
PERSONNEL . . . Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, formerly Meyers Group, a new-home real estate information and consulting service, named Michael Arabe vice president of sales at its Washington office.
Send realty announcements by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to 202-334-5059 or by mail to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, Att: Business News/Real Estate Notes.