WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose last week but remained close to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent from 4.28 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.38 percent from 3.32 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows roughly a year ago.

The increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. Deeming the economy to be gaining strength, the Fed announced in December and January that it was reducing its monthly bond purchases.


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