Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for the second straight week, providing a helpful jolt for potential home buyers.
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Last week's decline followed weeks of increases that pushed long-term loan rates to their highest levels in seven years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.54 percent, down from 4.56 percent last week. The average benchmark rate has been running at its highest levels since 2011. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.89 percent a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans dipped to 4.01 percent from 4.06 percent last week.
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 rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point last week.
The fee on 15-year mortgages was unchanged at 0.4 percent.
The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 3.74 percent from 3.80 percent last week. The fee increased to 0.4 point from 0.3 point.