Average mortgage rates climbed this week

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Average mortgage rates climbed this week

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FILE - This Monday, July 10, 2017, file photo shows new housing construction, in North Andover, Mass. On Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, Freddie Mac reports on the week's average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates increased this week, although they're lower than a year ago.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.99 percent, up from 3.94 percent last week. That average marks a five-month high, but it's still lower than the 4.32 percent a year ago. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to an average 3.44 percent from 3.38 percent in the prior week. The 15-year averaged 3.55 percent a year ago.

The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts President Donald Trump signed into law last week led to an increase in the interest charged on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note. This increase — likely reflective of both the debt and potential stimulus from the tax cuts — pushed up average mortgage rates.

The relatively low rates have helped preserve a degree of affordability for many would-be homebuyers amid rising prices. Many potential buyers are finding it difficult to buy a home as the number of listings on the market had drifted down to record lows for November.

The average on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.47 percent from 3.39 percent last week. A year ago, the five-year adjustable rate averaged 3.30 percent.

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