Fixed mortgage rates rose this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan climbed to 5.15%, from 5.07% a week earlier, Freddie said. The rate dipped to 4.96 percent the week of Jan. 15, the lowest since Freddie began keeping track.

"With the federal debt probably widening quite a bit here, that's going to put some upward pressure on rates," said George Mokrzan, senior economist at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio.

The U.S. government may need to increase the amount of debt it issues in coming years to pay for federal spending plans, which in turn may boost interest rates, Mokrzan said. Greater supply of U.S. Treasuries would increase yields and likely push mortgage rates higher, cutting housing demand and reducing home affordability.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie's chief economist, said in a press release that the mortgage rate increase "followed bond yields higher this week following reports of record continuing jobless claims and a downward revision in economic growth in the fourth quarter."

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