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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012

Average U.S. rate on 30-year fixed mortgage dips below 4 percent this week; 15-year drops

BY CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP ECONOMICS WRITER

WASHINGTON — The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell back below 4 percent this week, staying near historic lows.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.99 percent from 4.08 percent last week. Last month, the rate touched 3.87 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage also fell, to 3.23 percent. That's down from 3.30 percent last week and above the record low of 3.13 percent hit earlier this month.

The low rates have made home-buying and refinancing more affordable at a time when the housing market is flashing small signs of improvement. Still, most economists say it will take years for the market to fully recover from the housing bust.



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