Mortgage rates were up slightly during the pre-holiday week ended December 20 according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey conducted by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.14 percent with 0.4 point for the week, up from 6.11 percent with 0.5 point the week before. During the same week in 2006 the 30-year FRM carried an average interest rate of 6.13 percent.

The 15-year FRM increased one basis point from the previous week to an average of 5.79 percent. Fees and points decreased from 0.5 to 0.4. One year ago this product averaged 5.89 percent.



The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) also increased one basis point to 5.90 percent while fees and points were down from 0.6 to 0.5 on average. Last year the five-year ARM averaged 5.96 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.51 percent compared to 5.50 percent a week earlier. Fees and points were unchanged at 0.6. Last year the one-year ARM stood at 5.44 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist indicated that the rates had whipsawed during the week. He said "Stronger-than-expected inflation reports and retail sales for November put upward pressure on long-term interest rates late last week. However, ensuing data releases suggested further weakness in the housing market over November and December and allowed interest rates to drift back down. The net effect left mortgage rates little changed this week.

"Both the producer and consumer price indexes jumped for the month of November, implying inflation may still be a threat to the economy while retail sales increased twice as much as market forecasts, reflecting healthy consumer spending. At roughly the same time, single-family housing starts fell 5.4 percent in November to 829,000, the slowest pace since April 1991, and homebuilder confidence in December held for the third consecutive month at the lowest level since records began in January 1985."

The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) indicated a much wider swing in rates over the same time period. During the week ended December 21 the 30-year FRM decreased to 6.10 percent with 1.05 points, including the origination fee from 6.18 percent with 1.12 points the previous week.

The average rate of 15-year FRMs dropped 12 basis points to 5.66 percent with points decreasing to 1.09 from 1.10.