Improving economic news helped push long-term mortgage rates higher this week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage survey.

Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.81 percent for the week ended today, up from last week when it averaged 5.72 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 5.23 percent, up from last week when it averaged 5.15 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.19 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, unchanged from last week when they averaged 4.19 percent.

“Recent economic indicators came out better than had been anticipated, buoying financial markets this week, and reinvigorating confidence in financial markets that the last three months of the year will post a very positive rate of economic growth,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Of course, with the signs of strong growth come fears of inflation and that tends to push up long-term mortgage rates.

“Freddie Mac’s survey on house-price appreciation released earlier today continues to reflect a robust housing industry. Currently, our forecast is for sales of new and existing homes to top 7.88 million this year, which is an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2003’s record sales.”

The following is a sampling of Bankrate’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas.

New York – 5.85 percent with 0.05 point

Los Angeles – 5.84 percent with 0.56 point

Chicago – 5.92 percent with 0.02 point

San Francisco – 5.85 percent with 0.35 point

Philadelphia – 5.79 percent with 0.31 point

Detroit – 5.81 percent with 0.25 point

Boston – 5.88 percent with no points

Houston – 5.77 percent with 0.8 point

Dallas – 5.8 percent with 0.52 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.68 percent with 0.64 point

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