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Average US rate on 30-year mortgage steady at 3.71 per cent

WASHINGTON — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates were unchanged to slightly higher this week after declining the previous week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was steady at 3.71 per cent. The benchmark rate also remained close to the 3.70 per cent level it marked a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages edged up to 2.98 per cent from 2.96 per cent last week.

Prices of U.S. government bonds and their yields — which move in opposite directions— also showed little change over the week, in contrast to their sharp swings in recent weeks.

Mortgage rates tend to follow Treasury bond yields. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond stood at 1.83 per cent Wednesday, down from 1.87 per cent a week earlier. The yield slipped to 1.82 per cent Thursday morning.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in a speech Tuesday, reaffirmed the Fed's plans to move slowly in raising the interest rates it controls. That prospect could keep a lid on mortgage rates in coming weeks.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also held steady, at 0.4 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.90 per cent this week, up from 2.89 per cent last week. The fee remained at 0.5 point.

The Associated Press

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