WASHINGTON -- Average fixed rates on U.S. long-term mortgages neared their highs for the year this week amid signs of further strength in the economy.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan was 4.57 percent this week. That's up from 4.51 percent last week and close to its high this year of 4.58 percent reached Aug. 22.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage rose from 3.54 percent to 3.59 percent. That's near the year's high of 3.6 percent.
Long-term mortgage rates have risen more than a full percentage point since May, when Chairman Ben Bernanke first signaled that the Federal Reserve could reduce its bond purchases later this year. The bond purchases have been intended to keep loan rates ultra-low.