Average 30-year mortgage rate slips to 4.28%

WASHINGTON (AP) – March 7, 2014 – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell after three weeks of increases, edging closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.28 percent from 4.37 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.32 percent from 3.39 percent.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year note traded at 2.71 percent Wednesday, up from 2.67 percent a week earlier.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows roughly a year ago. The increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. Deeming the economy to be gaining strength, the Fed announced in December and January that it was reducing its monthly bond purchases.

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