As of Friday Freddie Mac reports that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.01 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 4, 2010, up from last week when it averaged 4.98 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 5.25 percent.

The 15-year loans averaged 4.40 percent with an average 0.7 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.39 percent. A year ago the 15-year FRM averaged 4.92 percent.

Mortgage rates remained  pretty stable for a second week. At the same time, there has been news of a strengthening housing market. Pending home sales increased by 1 percent in December from a record drop in November that was due partially from the original expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. Mortgage applications for home purchases jumped 10 percent at the end of January, according to figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Federal Reserve reports that banks have generally stopped tightening standards on most types of loans in the fourth quarter of 2009, with commercial real estate as the exception. But, in my experience, the banks are still tight when it comes to issuing new loans.