From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mortgage Rates Rise: The average interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 8.53% this week, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said. It was the first time the rate has been above 8.5% since June 12, 1992, when the average was 8.54%. This week's average was up from 8.32% the previous week. The average hit a 25-year low of 6.74% in October and in recent weeks has been between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 percentage points above that low. On one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages, lenders were asking an average initial rate of 5.25%, up from 5.15% last week. Fifteen-year mortgages, a popular option in refinancing mortgages, averaged 8.03% this week, up from 7.85% a week earlier. The rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

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