WASHINGTON — The costs of borrowing money to buy a home held steady this week as U.S. mortgage rates hover near relative lows.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages didn't budge from last week's 3.94 percent. One year ago, the benchmark rate was 3.54 percent. Historically, the average has been around 6 percent.
Long-term home loan rates tend to track the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, which have risen since early September, possibly in anticipation of tax cuts pushed by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.
Average mortgage rates rose after Trump's election a year ago in anticipation of tax cuts, climbing to as high as 4.32 percent at the end of 2016. But rates ticked back down this year as the Republican tax plan — made public Thursday morning — unfolded more slowly than expected.
Later Thursday, Trump is expected to name Federal Reserve board member Jerome Powell to lead the Fed when Janet Yellen's term ends in February.
On Wednesday, the Fed announced it was keeping its benchmark rate unchanged but hinted that it's preparing to resume raising rates modestly — possibly at its December meeting — as the outlook for the U.S. economy improves.
The Fed has raised short-term interest rates twice this year.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, ticked up slightly to 3.27 percent from 3.25 percent last week. A year ago, the 15-year rate averaged 2.84 percent.
The average rate on the five-year, adjustable-rate mortgage increased slightly to 3.23 percent from 3.21 percent last week.