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updated: 1/24/2013 11:47 AM

U.S. rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.42 pct.

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week but remained near record lows, keeping home buying more affordable.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan increased to 3.42 percent from 3.38 percent last week. That's still near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest in records dating to 1971.

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The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 2.71 percent from 2.66 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.

The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.66 percent in 2012, the lowest annual average in 65 years.

More affordable mortgages are a key reason the housing market began to come back last year. Many economists predict the housing recovery will strengthen in 2013.

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