WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. fixed mortgage rates edged up this week as the Federal Reserve planned to scale back its bond purchases next January, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said on Thursday.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rose to 4.47 percent, the highest since mid-September, in the week ending Thursday from 4.42 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 3.51 percent this week from 3.43 percent in the prior week, the survey showed.
"Mortgage rates rose slightly leading up to the Federal Reserve 's policy announcement. The statement indicated that the central bank would begin to trim its bond buying program," Freddie Mac's chief economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.
Mortgage rates have climbed from near-record low levels in May as the Federal Reserve weighs the timing of unwinding its bond purchase program. The Fed said Wednesday that it would trim the pace of its monthly bond purchases by 10 billion dollars to 75 billion dollars next January.
"While most housing markets still remain affordable, rising mortgage rates and rising house prices over the past six months are making it more challenging for the typical family to purchase a home without stretching beyond their means, especially in the Northeast and along the Pacific Coast," Nothaft noted.