Sites

US long-term mortgage rates edge higher

Buying News Spring House Hunt
.
. Adobe Stock

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term mortgage rates rose slightly this week, continuing to hover near all-time lows amid anxiety over the economy and housing market gut-punched by the shutdown spurred by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan edged up to 3.33 percent this week from 3.31 percent last week. A year ago the rate stood at 4.2 percent.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 2.86 percent from 2.8 percent last week.

Demand from prospective home buyers has weakened amid economic anxiety, and the housing market was upended by the pandemic just as it was entering the busy spring season. Mortgage rates have stabilized in the past few weeks as the market searches for direction and clues in the latest economic data, Freddie Mac noted.

The federal agency that oversees Freddie Mac and larger mortgage buyer Fannie Mae announced Wednesday that the two companies will buy qualified home loans in forbearance to keep lending flowing. Fannie and Freddie, which are under government control, together back about half the home mortgages in the $11 trillion US market. They put the mortgage relief programs in effect several weeks ago to help homeowners hit by the economic shutdown, giving borrowers relief on payments for up to one year and suspending late charges and penalties.

Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @globehomes.