LOW RATES: Average U. S. rates on fixed mortgages edged up this week but remained near historic lows. Low rates have helped drive the housing market's steady recovery.
THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 3.57 percent from 3.54 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year loan increased to 2.76 percent from 2.72 percent last week.
MORE BUYING, HIGHER PRICES: The lowest mortgage rates in decades are spurring more home purchases and refinancing. That's helped the broader economy. Increased sales also are pushing home prices higher.