Mortgage rates are holding largely steady this week, with only minor changes among the major loan types, according to today's Freddie Mac weekly rate survey.

Average interest rates on the standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose a single basis point, to 3.52 percent, up from 3.51 percent last week. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, often used by those who are refinancing, remained unchanged at 2.76 percent.

Initial interest rates on 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) nudged up to 2.63 percent, compared to 2.61 percent last week. The averages for fixed-rate mortgages include 0.7 points in originations and discounts, compared to 0.5 points for the ARM.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, noted that inflation has been subdued in recent months, helping to keep mortgage rates low. The Consumer Price Index rose only 0.1 percent in January, below market forecasts, while the U.S. gross domestic product increased only 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The low mortgage rates have been beneficial for the housing market, Northaft said, noting that home prices rose at an annual rate of 9.7 percent from January 2012 to January 2013, according to the CoreLogic home price index, the biggest 12-month increase in six-and-a-half years.

Average rates in the survey are based on mortgages with an 80 percent loan-to-value ratio. Originations and discount costs may not reflect the total fees charged to borrowers.

Published on May 15, 2009