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Freddie Mac says typical 30-year mortgage rate up a hair at 3.34%

December 06, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard
  • Freddie Mac, based at this building in Virginia, says the average interest rate for a typical 30-year mortgage this week was 3.34%.
Freddie Mac, based at this building in Virginia, says the average interest… (Freddie Mac )

Mortgage interest rates edged higher from record lows this week, with lenders offering the 30-year fixed loan to solid borrowers at an average of 3.34%, Freddie Mac said in its latest survey. 

Freddie Mac said the typical rate for a 15-year fixed loan was also slightly higher at 2.67%. The starting interest rates on variable home loans were slightly lower.

As calculated by Freddie, the rate for a 30-year loan bottomed out two weeks ago at a record 3.31% and rose to 3.32% last week. Demand for the loans has been heavy.

Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?

"I am as busy as I have ever been in my career," said Jeff Lazerson, head of Mortgage Grader, a Laguna Niguel loan brokerage. "It's nice to be so popular again."

Freddie Mac, based in McLean, Va., has been majority owned by the government since its near-meltdown during the financial crisis. It and its sister company, Fannie Mae, which form the backbone of the nation's housing finance system, have required $137 billion in taxpayer support to stay in business.

Freddie Mac, short for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., surveys lenders early each week about the terms they are offering to borrowers with good credit and 20% down payments or 20% equity in the properties if they are refinancing.

In  the hypothetical world of the Freddie Mac survey, the borrowers pay less than 1% of the mortgage amount in lender fees and discount points -- 0.7% on average in the latest report.

In the actual mortgage market, many borrowers "buy down" rates by paying additional points to their lenders upfront. Borrowers also typically pay additional costs that are not included in the survey, such as fees for appraisals and title insurance.

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