(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Mortgage rates held steady last week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 4.51 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was its first decline in three weeks. The 30-year fixed rate was 4.53 percent a week ago and 3.4 percent a year ago.

(Pam Tobey/The Washington Post) (Pam Tobey/The Washington Post)

The 15-year fixed-rate average bumped up slightly, going to 3.56 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.55 percent a week ago and 2.66 percent a year ago. Before rising above 3.5 percent three weeks ago, the 15-year fixed rate had remained below that mark since late September.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages showed little change. The five-year ARM average ticked up to 3.15 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 3.05 percent a week ago and 2.67 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM has remained at 2.56 percent with an average 0.5 point for the past three weeks.

“Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

“Of the few releases, the private sector added an estimated 238,000 jobs in December, which exceeded the market consensus and followed an upward revision of 14,000 jobs in November, according to the ADP Research Institute. Also, the Institute for Supply Management reported a greater slowing in growth in the non-manufacturing industry in December than the market consensus forecast.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications increased last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, rose 2.6 percent. The Refinance index climbed 5 percent, while the Purchase Index edged up 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 63 percent of all applications.