07/20/2017 06:13 EDT | Updated 07/20/2017 06:20 EDT

Average US mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 3.96 per cent

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week after two straight weeks of increases. The benchmark 30-year rate slipped back below the significant 4 per cent level.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average 3.96 per cent from 4.03 per cent last week. It stood at 3.45 per cent a year ago and averaged a record low 3.65 per cent in 2016.

The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, eased to 3.23 per cent from 3.29 per cent last week.