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US mortgage rates fall to 12-month low; 30-year at 4.37 pct

WASHINGTON — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week to a 12-month low, an enticement for prospective homebuyers in the upcoming season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.37 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The key 30-year home borrowing rate averaged 4.38 percent a year ago.

The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate loans eased to 3.81 percent from 3.84 percent.

Indications that inflation and economic growth around the world have slowed have been pushing mortgage rates lower. Increases in home prices have slowed in many areas of the country, and more homes have come on the market. Along with historically low mortgage rates, those developments are expected to boost this spring’s home buying season.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged this week at 0.4 point. The fee on 15-year mortgages also held steady at 0.4 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 3.88 percent from 3.91 percent last week. The fee was stable at 0.3 point.

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