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Average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increases

Homeowners recently saw the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increase.

Homeowners recently saw the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increase.

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, which revealed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average increased after being near record lows for months.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent with an average of 0.8 points for the week ending on February 23, which is a significant increase from the 3.87 percent average the previous week.

The 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent in the week, increasing from the 3.16 average that was recorded in the previous week.

"New data releases this week suggest the housing market is continuing to gradually improve," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac. "Loans that were seriously delinquent (90 days or more past due plus the foreclosure inventory) fell to 5.3 percent of prime mortgages at the end of 2011, representing the lowest quarterly share since the start of 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The Census Bureau reported new residential construction starts in January outpaced the market consensus forecast, led by condominiums and apartment buildings, and December's figures had upward revisions."

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, U.S. house prices fell 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, which might send more Americans packing to move into their dream homes.