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US long-term mortgage rates ease; 30-year loan at 3.72%

Freddie Mac: Positive data brings stability to mortgage rates

FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2019, photo a sign stands outside a home for sale in southeast Denver. On Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, Freddie Mac reports on this week's average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2019, photo a sign stands outside a home for sale in southeast Denver. On Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, Freddie Mac reports on this week's average U.S. mortgage rates. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

U.S. long-term mortgage rates declined slightly this week, remaining close to the historically low levels where they have hovered for the past two months.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to 3.72% from 3.74% last week. By contrast, the benchmark rate stood at 4.51% a year ago.

The average rate on a 15-year mortgage slipped to 3.16% from 3.19%.

More positive economic data and improved housing market sentiment have brought stability in mortgage rates, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said. For all of 2019, the 30-year loan averaged 3.9%, the fourth-lowest annual rate since Freddie Mac began tracking it in 1971, according to the company.

Volatile interest rates earlier last year caused a slowdown in the housing market, Khater noted. Low mortgage rates and a strong job market are “setting the stage for a continued rise in home sales and home prices,” he said.