US fixed mortgage rates edged up to the highest level in more than three months as the economy picked up in recent months, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rose to 4.53 percent, the highest since mid-September, in the week ending Thursday from 4.48 percent in the previous week, the U.S. mortgage giant said in its Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
The 15-year FRM, a popular guide for those looking to refinance, also edged up to 3.55 percent this week from 3.52 percent in the prior week, the survey showed.
"Mortgage rates edged up to begin the year on signs of a stronger economic recovery," Freddie Mac's chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement. "The Conference Board reported that confidence among consumers rose in December and the S&P/Case- Shiller 20-city composite house price index rose 13.6 percent over the 12-months ending in October 2013."
Mortgage rates have climbed from near-record low levels in May as the Federal Reserve weighed the timing of unwinding its bond purchase program. The 30-year FRM reached a two-year high of 4.58 percent in August, up from 3.35 percent in early May.
The Fed said last month that it would trim the pace of its monthly bond purchases by 10 billion dollars to 75 billion dollars starting January, which may push up mortgage rates in the next few months.