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The US 30-year mortgage rate has fallen again

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WASHINGTON — US long-term mortgage rates hovered at near all-time lows for the third straight week amid fresh signs of severe damage to the economy and the housing market from the shutdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan slipped from 3.33 percent last week to 3.31 percent. The rate stood at 4.17 percent a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose from 2.77 percent to 2.8 percent.

Demand from prospective home buyers has weakened amid economic anxiety. The housing market was upended by the pandemic just as it was entering the busy spring season.

Meanwhile, the government reported Thursday that US home-building activity collapsed in March as the virus spread, with housing starts tumbling an alarming 22.3 percent from a month earlier. The data suggest a bleak outlook for the housing market; the economic disruption has led to job losses for more than 20 million Americans in the past four weeks, another government report indicated Thursday.

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