WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose slightly this week, staying near three-month lows. Rates could fall next week now that lawmakers reached a deal to avert a possible government debt default and reopen the federal government.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.28 percent from 4.23 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan edged up to 3.33 percent from 3.31 percent.

Mortgage rates began falling last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond purchases.

Rates are likely to fall even lower now that Congress reached a deal to reopen the government and allow the Treasury to borrow normally until early February.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year note fell to 2.61 percent Thursday, down from 2.74 percent Tuesday.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was steady at 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also was unchanged at 0.7 point.

The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 2.63 percent from 2.64 percent and the fee held at 0.4 point.


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