US long-term mortgage rates rise; 30-year at 2.84%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates rose this week. They remain at historically low levels, now around a percentage point below a year ago.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Wednesday that the average rate on the 30-year benchmark loan increased to 2.84% from 2.78% from last week. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.75% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 2.34% from 2.32%.

Breaking their downward trend through most of this year, mortgage rates were bolstered by the news Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine may be 90% effective, based on early and incomplete test results.

The vaccine announcement came two days after Joe Biden became president-elect upon defeating President Donald Trump by crossing the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

The historically low borrowing rates have bolstered demand from prospective homebuyers. Demand for homes has remained strong despite a brief slowdown in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but at the same time the rise in home prices has stretched the limits of affordability for many would-be buyers.

The government reported Wednesday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 709,000, a still-high level but the lowest figure since March and a further sign that the job market might be slowly healing.


This story has been updated to correct the day of the week that the reports were issued. It was Wednesday, not Thursday.

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