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US long-term mortgage rates fall; 30-year loan at 3.73%

WASHINGTON — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week. It was the seventh decline in the past nine weeks for the key 30-year, fixed-rate loan, which reached its lowest level since November 2016.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage fell to 3.73% from 3.84% last week. By contrast, a year ago the rate stood at 4.55%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped this week to 3.16% from 3.25%.

The historically low levels marked by mortgage rates in this spring’s homebuying season have brought a surge in interest by prospective buyers and homeowners looking to refinance. Total mortgage applications rose 1.3% in the week ended June 21 from a week earlier, while refinance applications increased 3%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

More Americans signed contracts to buy homes last month compared with April, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday, a sign that buyers may be ready to take advantage of low mortgage rates and stabilizing home prices. Even with the 30-year average mortgage rate below 4%, home sales slowed in the first five months of the year.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

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 0.5 point.

The average fee for the 15-year mortgage rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.39% from 3.48% last week. The fee held steady at 0.4 point.

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