Mortgage rates hit a record low roughly a year ago, but have risen about a full percent since then. Last week the average U.S. rates on fixed 30-year mortgage loans fell to 4.32 percent from 4.37. The average for a 15-year mortgage loan fell to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent. The Federal Reserve announced in December, January, and again in March that monthly bond purchases will be reduced. The central bank expects its benchmark short-term rate to remain low. The Federal Reserve’s Chair, Janet Yellen, stated that the Fed intends to keep short – term rates near zero for a considerable amount of time because the job market is still recovering. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales in U.S. existing homes dropped for the 6th time in 7 months due to severe weather, rising prices and low inventory. However, signs that the market is improving are there – sales improved in the South and West and more people decided to sell, creating more inventory. To read more about Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Survey, click here.