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Average US rate on 30-year loan rises to 4.47 pct.

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a home is advertised for sale in Matthews, N.C. on Nov. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

a home is advertised for sale in Matthews, N.C. on Nov. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages rose slightly this week but remained near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.47 percent from 4.42 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan rose to 3.51 percent from 3.43 percent.

Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6 percent in August and have stabilized since September, when the Federal Reserve surprised markets by taking no action on starting to reduce its $85 billion-a month bond purchases. The Fed decided this week that the outlook for the economy appeared strong enough for it to reduce the monthly bond purchases starting in January by $10 billion.

The purchases are designed to keep long-term rates such as mortgage rates low.

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