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Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.41 percent

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell closer this week to their historic lows, making homeownership more affordable and refinancing more attractive.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan dipped to 3.41 percent from 3.43 percent last week. That’s not far from the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating back to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slipped to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent. That nearly matches the record low of 2.63 percent, also reached in November.

Low mortgage rates are helping drive a housing recovery that began last year. Sales of new and previously occupied homes are up this year, prices are rising and builders broke ground on homes in March at the fastest annual pace in nearly five years.

Mortgage rates are low because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has fallen in recent weeks.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points.

The average fee for 30-year mortgages fell 0.1 to 0.7 point. The fee for 15-year loans held steady at 0.7 point.

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