WASHINGTON - Rates on 30-year mortgages edged up to the highest level since early November as the economy continued to show surprising signs of strength.

The mortgage company Freddie Mac reported yesterday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.25 percent this week, compared with 6.23 percent last week.

It was the third consecutive weekly increase and the highest level since 6.33 percent the week of Nov. 9.

Analysts said financial markets were reacting to various economic reports showing the economy was doing better than expected at the end of 2006.

That, in turn, reduces the chance the Federal Reserve will see a need to cut interest rates.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said next week's Fed meeting as well as a government report on how the overall economy performed during the final three months of 2006 will help determine the next moves on interest rates.

The Freddie Mac survey showed that other types of mortgage rates were mixed this week.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, were unchanged at 5.98 percent.

Five-year adjustable rate mortgages fell to 6 percent from 6.04 percent last week.

One-year ARMs dipped to 5.49 percent from 5.51 percent last week.

The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year, 15-year and five-year mortgages each carried a nationwide average fee of 0.4 point. One-year adjustable rate mortgages carried a fee of 0.5 point.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages stood at 6.12 percent while 15-year mortgages were at 5.70 percent, five-year ARMs averaged 5.75 percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.20 percent. *