Rates on 30-year mortgages edged up slightly this week, posting the 10th consecutive increase and keeping rates at the highest level in more than two years.

Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 6.37 percent, slightly higher than last week's 6.36 percent average. Both weeks represented the highest level since 30-year mortgages were at 6.44 percent in early September 2003.

The 30-year mortgage is now nearly a full percentage point above its low-point of this year, 5.53 percent, set the week of June 30. Analysts said that even with the increases, the 30-year and adjustable-rate mortgages are well less than their averages over the past decade.

The rising rates, however, are expected to cool off the booming housing market. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that construction of new homes and apartments fell by 5.6 percent last month. It was the biggest decline in seven months and was seen as clear evidence that housing activity has started to slow.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, often used for refinancing a mortgage, averaged 5.90 percent this week, up from 5.89 percent last week.

One-year ARMs were 5.20 percent, up from 5.12 percent last week, while rates on five-year hybrid ARMs averaged 5.86 percent this week, up from 5.81 percent last week.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. All categories of mortgages in the Freddie Mac survey carried a nationwide average fee of 0.6 point last week.

A year ago, 30-year loans averaged 5.74 percent, 15-year loans were 5.15 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 4.17 percent.

APPOINTMENTS . . . Margaret Ireland, managing broker with Weichert Realtors in Manassas for the past 13 years, was recently elected to chair the 2006 board of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, replacing Tracy Pless of Long & Foster in Reston. Ireland joined the NVAR in 1984 and currently serves on the board as secretary-treasurer.

Luis A. Lama, an associate broker at Long & Foster Real Estate in Falls Church, was elected chairman-elect. Lama, an association member since 1988 and a broker since 1999, has served on the board for the past three years.

Susan Mekenney of RE/MAX Allegiance in Fairfax is the incoming secretary-treasurer.

Also elected to the 2006 board:

* Larry Anderson, principal broker of Brio Realty in Centreville.

* Judi LaMorte of Long & Foster Real Estate in Centreville.

* Laura Fall, principal broker and owner of Fall Properties LLC in Arlington.

* Jane Quill, associate broker for RE/MAX Presidential in Fairfax.

* Trudy Severa, a member of the NVAR for 11 years and a sales associate with Long and Foster's Reston-North Hills office.

Results were announced at the NVAR's annual meeting Nov. 4.

Send announcements by e-mail to realestate@washpost.com, 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.