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US long-term mortgage rates are up for 4th straight week

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WASHINGTON (AP) — US long-term mortgage rates rose for the fourth straight week, though they remain historically low as a spur to home sales in the spring buying season.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 4.17 percent last week to 4.2 percent. A year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.58 percent.

The average for 15-year fixed-rate home loans rose this week from 3.62 percent last week to 3.64 percent.

After peaking at nearly 5 percent in November, long-term rates started trending downward, helping to boost home sales after a rocky 2018.

Despite the recent increases, lower borrowing rates and improved affordability of homes ‘‘should push housing activity higher in the coming months,’’ said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac chief economist.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

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 was unchanged this week at 0.5 point.

The average fee for the 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages slipped from 3.78 percent last week to 3.77 percent. The fee rose from 0.3 point to 0.4 point.

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