FILE - In this March 7, 2014 photo, a realty sign hangs in front of a home for sale in Orlando, Fla.  Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

FILE - In this March 7, 2014 photo, a realty sign hangs in front of a home for sale in Orlando, Fla. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) (The Associated Press)

Average US mortgage rates fall to new lows; 30-year loan at 3.73 pct., 15-year at 3.05 pct.

Markets Associated Press

Average U.S. mortgage rates started the year by dipping to new lows, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking its lowest level since May 2013.

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Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.73 percent this week from 3.87 percent last week.

The average for a 15-year mortgage slid to 3.05 percent from 3.15 percent last week.

A year ago, the 30-year mortgage stood at 4.51 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.56 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to keep long-term rates low.

The decline in mortgage rates also has come as bond yields have hit record low levels.