Lenders were offering 30-year fixed mortgages at an average 3.56% this week, up slightly from last week, while the 15-year fixed loan held steady at 2.77%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.
Start rates on adjustable mortgages were flat to slightly higher, Freddie Mac said in the survey, released Thursday.
The 30-year rate, pegged at 3.53% for the three previous weeks, is now up about a quarter of a percentage point from its record lows late last year.
The favorable rates have helped to drive housing demand, pushing prices higher. The online real-estate site Zillow Inc. said Thursday that nearly 2 million U.S. homeowners were freed from negative equity in 2012, meaning their mortgages were no longer larger than the value of their homes.
The low rates also are encouraging new-home construction, although new-home starts slipped slightly in January compared to December.
Freddie Mac asks lenders each week what terms they are offering borrowers on popular types of loans. In the latest survey, the borrowers would have paid an average 0.8% of the loan amount in upfront fees and discount points to the lenders.