The steady growth of mortgage rates went into reverse this week, according to a new report.

The 30-year fixed-rate average mortgage this week decreased to 4.29 percent from 4.46 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year rate averaged 3.62 percent, according to a report today from mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

“Fixed mortgage rates fell over the holiday week as market concerns over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s pullback in bond purchases eased somewhat,” said Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Rates are still low by historical standards and should continue to aid in housing affordability and the ongoing recovery of the housing market.”

After an extended stay in the 3 percent range, mortgage rates have been creeping up in recent months. The growth of rates fast-forwarded days ago when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke discussed plans to wean the Fed off a bond-buying program that have kept those rates low.

According to a widely used metric, every one percentage point increase in mortgage interest adds 10 percent to the cost of a home.

Low mortgage rates have been tied to the growing home sales in the Lowcountry, real estate experts have said.

Some Realtors have said the recent uptick in rates has sparked a frenzy of activity from buyers anxious to buy homes before rates rise higher.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.