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Mortgage rates

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.56 percent, down from 4.66 percent last week.

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell last week for the second straight week, providing a helpful jolt for potential home buyers.

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.

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