Long-term mortgage rates inched up this week, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the rate on 30-year fixed mortgages grew to an average 6.46 percent from 6.45 percent a week ago, and the 15-year fixed rose to 6.15 percent from 6.12 percent. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.5 on the 30- and 15-year loans.

In a prepared statement, Freddie Mac Vice President and Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said the gains in long-term rates were slight because of smaller-than-expected increases in the core personal consumption expenditure price index (up 1.3 percent in second quarter) and consumer spending data (core price index gaining 1.9 percent year-over-year in July).

Nothaft also cited sluggishness in home prices as contributing to the soft interest-rate increases, as Freddie Mac’s recent Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index reported that U.S. home prices on average grew by 0.1 percent between the first and second quarters of ’07 — the slowest growth in more than 12 years — and prices between second-quarter 2006 and second-quarter 2007 rose 3.3 percent, “the slowest rate in 10 years.”

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) dipped to an average 6.32 percent from 6.35 percent last week, Freddie Mac reported, and the one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs dropped to an average 5.74 percent from 5.84 percent a week ago. Points on these loans averaged 0.6.

In Bankrate.com’s survey, fixed mortgage rates increased this week, with the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate rising to 6.5 percent, and discount and origination points averaging 0.32.

The average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing increased by a similar amount to 6.18 percent, Bankrate.com reported, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate slipped to 7.38 percent.

While the average one-year ARM inched higher to 6.23 percent, rates on hybrid ARMs dropped, with the average 5/1 ARM falling to 6.45 percent, the lowest since Aug. 1, according to Bankrate.com.

In a reversal of what has been seen in recent weeks, conforming fixed mortgage rates moved higher while rates for larger jumbo loans decreased. The spread between the jumbo and conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased for the first time since July, before credit market turmoil surfaced. Loans above $417,000 aren’t eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and do not carry guarantees against default — these larger jumbo loans carry higher rates as a result. A normal spread was last seen in late July, when the difference between the average conforming and jumbo fixed rates was 0.28 percentage point. After reaching 0.97 percentage point last week, the spread narrowed to 0.88 percentage point this week.

Bankrate.com reported that borrowers should seriously consider fixed mortgage rates when shopping for a loan or refinancing, as interest rates are considerably lower now than they were just seven weeks ago. In July, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.82 percent, meaning that a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,307. Now that the average conforming 30-year fixed rate is 6.5 percent, the same $200,000 loan carries a monthly payment of $1,264.

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

New York – 6.5 percent with 0.13 point

Los Angeles – 6.59 percent with 0.55 point

Chicago – 6.48 percent with 0.09 point

San Francisco – 6.46 percent with 0.55 point

Philadelphia – 6.52 percent with 0.27 point

Detroit – 6.52 percent with 0.04 point

Boston – 6.56 percent with 0.13 point

Houston – 6.45 percent with 0.55 point

Dallas – 6.47 percent with 0.43 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.48 percent with 0.48 point

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