US long-term mortgage rates edge higher; 30-year at 3.09%

A "sale pending" sign stands along side a housing lot in Madison County, Miss., Tuesday, March 16, 2021. U.S. long-term mortgage rates continued to edge higher this week as the benchmark 30-year loan stayed above the 3% mark. Rates remain near historic lows, however. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Copyright 2021. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – U.S. long-term mortgage rates continued to edge higher this week as the benchmark 30-year loan stayed above the 3% mark. Rates remain near historic lows, however.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate home loan rose to 3.09% from 3.05% last week. By contrast, the benchmark rate stood at 3.65% a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among those seeking to refinance their mortgages, increased to 2.40% from 2.38% last week.

The prospect of massive pandemic aid, following Congress’ recent enactment of the nearly $2 trillion relief package, has helped lift uncertainty about the economic recovery and likely coaxed mortgage rates higher.

The government reported Thursday that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 770,000, a sign that layoffs remain high even as much of the economy is steadily recovering from the coronavirus recession.