Benchmark mortgage rate edges up in U.S. housing market

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — Benchmark mortgage rate increased slightly in the United States, the U.S. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Freddie Mac, said Thursday.

For the week ending Feb. 13, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) in the United States increased to 3.47 percent from previous week’s 3.45 percent.

However, it was still significantly lower than the previous year. For the same period one year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.37 percent.

Freddie Mac noted that the 15-year FRM this week remained below 3 percent threshold at 2.97 percent, lower than 3.81 percent for the same period a year ago.

“With mortgage rates hovering near a five-decade low, refinance application activity is once again surging, rising to the highest level in seven years,” said Sam Khater, chief economist of Freddie Mac.

“This surge coupled with strong purchase activity means that total mortgage demand remains robust, reflective of a solid economic backdrop and a very low mortgage rate environment,” said Khater.

Freddie Mac is a corporation founded by U.S. Congress to promote the stability and affordability in the U.S. housing market by purchasing mortgages from banks and other loan makers. The corporation has been conducting weekly surveys on U.S. mortgage rate since April 1971.

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