int rateAverage rates for fixed-rate mortgages have seen ups and down this year, and are closing out 2013 on the rise, according to data released Thursday.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.48% in the week that ended Dec. 26, up more than one percentage point from 3.34% at the beginning of the year, federally controlled mortgage buyer Freddie Mac FMCC reported. Meanwhile, the average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.52% from 2.64%.

Higher rates are behind some slowing in the housing market’s recovery, economists say, pointing to trends such as pending home sales falling in October for a fifth monthly slump. Such a decline makes sense given that rising rates lower affordability, cutting some demand.

However, fresh data signal that buyers may be adjusting to the pricier home-sales environment. And as long as jobs growth keeps up, home sales are expected to rise next year, even in the face of more expensive properties, new rules for loans and an evolving housing-finance environment.

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