Mortgage rates are continuing their gradual climb upwards after reaching record lows. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate rose to 4.8 percent from 4.74 percent the previous week, Freddie Mac reports. The average on 15-year mortgage rates also rose slightly from 4.05 percent to 4.09 percent for the week.

In November, 30-year loans had reached a 40-year low at 4.17 percent and the 15-year mortgage rate was at 3.57 percent.

The average on the five-year adjustable-rate mortgages this week increased to 3.7 percent from 3.69 percent the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association says it expects mortgage lending to drop considerably in 2011, due to high unemployment, borrowers’ diminished credit coming out of the recession, and more lenders not willing to take on a high risk.

MBA says it expects new loans this year to decrease by 36 percent to its lowest level in more than a decade, falling to $966 billion in 2011 from $1.5 trillion this year.

Earlier in the week, MBA reported a drop in mortgage applications to the slowest refinancing activity in more than a year. Mortgage applications dropped 12.9 percent in the week ended Jan. 21, according to MBA’s seasonally adjusted index.

The index dropped 15.3 percent, which is the lowest level since January 2010. Refinancing activity has continued to decline since October from rising interest rates and tighter underwriting standards.

Source: “Bond Yields Rise and So Do Mortgage Rates,” Freddie Mac (Jan. 27, 2011); “U.S. Mortgage Applications Declined Last Week,” Reuters News (Jan. 26, 2011); and “Mortgage Lending Projected to Fall 36%,” Dow Jones Business News (Jan. 26, 2011)