Mortgage rates have topped 7% for the first time since May, according to Freddie Mac's latest weekly survey.

In the survey released Thursday, Freddie Mac said the average rate of a 30-year fixed-rate loan jumped to 7.06%, up 17 basis points from a week earlier. Rates on 15-year loans hit 6.70%, up 19 basis points.

The steady uptick during the past month slowed the refinancing boom that lenders have enjoyed since early 1998, and it could mean that volume will be down this year.

But Freddie Mac economist Robert Van Order said there is no need for lenders to worry that rates will continue to rise. Friday's employment report, though robust, was not as strong as expected, he noted.

"If conditions stay as they are right now, rates will go back down to under 7%."

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