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30-year mortgage rates rise slightly

WASHINGTON — Average US rates on fixed mortgages ticked up from record lows last week. Cheaper mortgages are fueling a modest housing recovery that could help the broader economy.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.39 percent from 3.36 percent. The previous week’s rate was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

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The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage edged up to 2.70 percent, from last week’s record low of 2.69 percent.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has been below 4 percent all year. And rates have fallen even further since the Federal Reserve started buying mortgage bonds in September to encourage more borrowing and spending.

The Fed said it will continue buying bonds until the job market shows substantial improvement.

Home sales are up from last year and home prices are rising more consistently in most areas. Builders are more confident and starting more homes. Lower rates have also persuaded more people to refinance.

To calculate average rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week.

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