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Mortgage rates have risen for the first time in six weeks

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Mortgage rates in the United States rose for the first time in six weeks while still hovering close to a record low.

The average for a 30-year fixed loan climbed to 3.01 percent, up from 2.98 percent last week, which was the lowest in Freddie Mac data going back to 1971.

Mortgage rates tumbled to records starting in March as the coronavirus roiled financial markets. The low borrowing costs have pushed more buyers into the market, making housing a bright spot in an economy that’s otherwise been hammered by the pandemic.

Purchases of previously owned homes rose in June for the first time in four months as more states emerged from virus-related lockdowns, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Home builders such as PulteGroup Inc. have reported reported better-than-expected demand in recent months.

The rebound will be tested. Reopening plans have been rolled back in some areas where COVID-19 cases are surging. Millions of job losses and tight supplies of affordable homes also are limiting the number of Americans who can take advantage of low rates.

For homeowners able to refinance, the savings can be significant. At the current average rate, the monthly payment on a $300,000, 30-year fixed mortgage would be $1,266. That’s down from $1,524 two years ago, when the rate was 4.52 percent.

(Here is what you should ask before you refinance your mortgage.)

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