US average mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 4.51 percent

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WASHINGTON | U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, starting the year with an inducement to prospective homebuyers.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.51 percent from 4.55 percent last week. Despite recent declines, home borrowing rates remain far above last year’s levels. The key 30-year rate averaged 3.95 percent a year ago.

The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate loans edged down to 3.99 percent this week from to 4.01 percent last week.