U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rates Rise to Highest Since August

U.S. mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans rose, increasing long-term borrowing costs after construction of single-family homes climbed to a four-year high.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.56 percent in the week ended today, up from 3.53 percent and the highest level since Aug. 30, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15-year rate held at 2.77 percent.

Interest rates at near-record lows and a shrinking supply of existing homes on the market are supporting demand for new houses. Builders broke ground in January on the most U.S. single-family homes since July 2008 and permits for future construction climbed, figures from the Commerce Department showed yesterday.

“Mortgage rates are still very, very low,” Celia Chen, a housing economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “They’re likely to stay low at least another year.”

The average 30-year mortgage rate dropped to a record 3.31 percent in November, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate fell to 2.63 percent, also the lowest on record.