WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates again rose modestly this week against the backdrop of an improving economy and further distribution of coronavirus vaccines. Rates remain near historic lows, however.
The benchmark 30-year loan stayed above the 3% mark, a level it breached last week for the first time since July 2020.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate home loan rose to 3.05% from 3.02% last week. By contrast, the benchmark rate stood at 3.36% a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among those seeking to refinance their mortgages, increased to 2.38% from 2.34% last week.
President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday the long-awaited $1.9 trillion relief package targeted to help the U.S. defeat the coronavirus. The prospect of the massive stimulus has helped lift uncertainty about the economic recovery.
The government reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 712,000, the lowest total since early November, evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs amid a decline in confirmed virus infections and signs of a healing economy. Still, many businesses remain under pressure and 9.6 million jobs remain lost to the pandemic that flattened the economy one year ago.