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Average rate on 30-year mortgages dips to 4.12 per cent while 15-year mortgages unchanged

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WASHINGTON - Average U.S. mortgage rates are near historically low levels.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average rate for a 30-year loan dipped to 4.12 per cent, down from 4.14 last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage, which had taken a big dip the previous week, was unchanged this week at 3.22 per cent.

Rates on one-year adjustable mortgages averaged 2.38 per cent this week, down from 2.40 per cent last week.

Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year, having fallen recently after climbing last summer when the Federal Reserve began talking about trimming back the monthly bond purchases it has been using to keep long-term rates low.

At 4.12 per cent, the rate on 30-year mortgages is down from 4.53 per cent at the beginning of this year. Rates have fallen modestly this year as Fed officials have sent strong signals that while they are trimming their monthly bond purchases, they are in no rush to start boosting a key short-term rate the Fed controls.

To calculate average mortgage rate, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.5 point this week, the same as last week. The fee for a 15-year loan, popular in refinancing, was also 0.5 point, unchanged from last week.

The fee on a one-year adjustable rate mortgage was 0.4 point, unchanged from last week.

The average rate on a five-year adjustable rate mortgage was 2.98 per cent, unchanged from last week. The fee was 0.4 point, up from 0.3 point last week.

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