Mortgage rates reach above 5 percent

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Average mortgage rates have climbed above 5 percent for the first time since October, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey.

The average rate was 5.05 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage last week. During the previous week, mortgage rates were at 4.94 percent. Last year during the same week, the 30-year fixed-mortgage rate was 5.14 percent.

“Although interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are above 5 percent this week for the first time since the end of October, they are still around 0.5 percentage points below this year’s peak set in mid-June,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.

The housing market continues to improve, Nothaft said. “Total existing home sales jumped 7.4 percent in November to an annualized pace of 6.54 million units, which was the most since February 2007,” he added.

The number of unsold existing homes was the lowest since December 2006.

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