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Average US rate on 30-year mortgage at 4.10 pct.

WASHINGTON — Average US rates on fixed mortgages fell for the second straight week and are at their lowest levels in four months.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average on the 30-year loan declined to 4.10 percent, from 4.13 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan eased to 3.20 percent from 3.24 percent.

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Rates have been falling since September when the Federal Reserve surprised investors by continuing to buy $85 billion a month in bonds. The purchases are intended to keep long-term interest rates low. Rates had spiked over the summer when the Fed indicated it might reduce those purchases later this year.

The lower rates appear to be sparking a surge in activity by prospective home buyers and homeowners looking to refinance.

Mortgage applications jumped 6.4 percent in the week ended Oct. 25 from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for purchases rose 2 percent from a week earlier, while refinance applications soared nearly 9 percent.

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