The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose for the fourth straight week, but still remains below 5 percent.
Freddie Mac said last week the average rate on the 30-year loan rose to 4.91 percent from 4.87 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage increased to 4.13 percent from 4.10 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.
Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note.
Low mortgage rates haven't been enough to lift the struggling housing market. Job worries and tight credit standards have kept people from buying homes. A high number of foreclosures are forcing home prices down, leaving would-be buyers worried that market hasn't bottomed out.
The number of homes repossessed by banks jumped 13 percent in March from the month before, the highest increase in a year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. The number of homes receiving their first notice of default grew 16 percent. The pace of foreclosures had slowed in the first quarter because of lender processing delays, but the uptick in March suggests the rate may continue to pick up.
Roughly 5 million borrowers are at least two months behind on their mortgages. RealtyTrac has forecast between 1 million and 1.2 million homes will be taken back by lenders this year.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day. The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage rose to 3.78 percent from 3.72 percent. The five-year adjustable-rate loan hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.
The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan fell to 3.22 percent from 3.26 percent. Three weeks ago, the rate hit 3.17 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1984.
The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year fixed loan, five-year ARM and the 1-year ARM in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.6 point. The average fee for the 15-year fixed loan was 0.7 point.