Mortgage rates continued their ascent this week, pushed upward by a couple of optimistic housing reports.

A surge in new home sales and a bigger-than-expected bump in home prices were encouraging signs for the housing market. But not all the data was rosy. Existing home sales faltered in January, falling to a nine-month low.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, assuring lawmakers that there is unlikely to be a change in Fed funds rate for at least the next two meetings of the Fed Open Market Committee.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average rose for the third week in a row, climbing to 3.8 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.76 percent a week ago and 4.37 percent a year ago. The 30-year fixed rate has gone up 21 basis points in the past three weeks.

The 15-year fixed-rate average ascended to 3.07 percent with an average 0.6 point, the second week in a row it has been above 3 percent. It was 3.05 percent a week ago and 3.39 percent a year ago.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average edged up to 2.99 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.97 percent a week ago and 3.05 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average fell to 2.44 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.45 percent a week ago.

Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist, credited solid housing reports for the uptick in rates.

New home sales beat market expectations at an annual pace of 481,000 units, down slightly from 482,000 units in December, but up 5.3 percent from a year ago,” Kiefer said in a statement. “Also, the [Standard & Poor’s]/Case-Shiller National House Price Index rose 4.6 percent over the 12-months ending in December 2014.”

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

The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, decreased 3.5 percent. The refinance index fell 8 percent, while the purchase index dropped 5 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 62 percent of all applications.