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NEW YORK (BankingMyWay) -- Mortgage rates are inching upward as the year draws to a close, making it that much harder for buyers to afford a new home.

According to the BankingMyWay Weekly Mortgage Rate Tracker, the average national 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.54% last week, up slightly from 4.48% the week before.

This will go down as a year that saw mortgage rates rise significantly. New data from Freddie Mac shows that one year ago, the national 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage was 3.35%, meaning rates have risen by 119 basis points over the course of the year, adding to the financial burden of new homebuyers.

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Heres the difference, in dollars, between mortgage payments using both rate figures:

Scenario 1

Total mortgage loan: $250,000
Interest rate: 4.54%
Duration: 30 years
Monthly payment: $1,272.66
Total interest paid: $208,158.31

Scenario 2

Total mortgage loan: $250,000
Interest rate: 3.35%
Duration: 30 Years
Monthly payment: $1,101.78
Total interest paid: $146,642.18

Consequently, if you bought a home with a $250,000 mortgage Dec. 27, 2012, you would have saved $61,516.13 compared with buying a new home with a $250,000 mortgage one year later Friday.

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Its not just 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans. Freddie Mac says that 15-year loan rates have risen from 2.65% in December 2012 to 3.52% this month. Variable rate mortgages have remained more stable over the year.

Perhaps higher rates are the reason, or at least one of the main reasons (along with seasonality) home sales dipped last month. Freddie Mac reports that existing home sales declined by 4.3% in November, while new-home sales fell by 2.1% last month.

If the economy continues to improve (U.S. Gross Domestic Product was recently revised upward to 4.1% in the third quarter), expect rates to continue to rise. That would make the spring 2014 home-sales season more problematic for the economy, and more expensive for homebuyers.