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Mortgage rates fall to 4.22 percent for 30-year loan

Mortgage rates decline after two weeks of increases. Average mortgage rates for 15-year loan fall to 3.27 percent.

A home is advertised for sale in Matthews, N.C., earlier this month. Mortgage rates are nearly 1 percentage point higher than in the spring.

Chuck Burton/AP/File

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Average U.S.Ā ratesĀ on fixedĀ mortgagesĀ declined this week after two weeks of increases, keeping home-buying affordable.

MortgageĀ buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the averageĀ rateĀ on the 30-year loan fell to 4.22 percent from to 4.35 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixedĀ mortgageĀ dipped to 3.27 percent from 3.35 percent.

RatesĀ had spiked over the summer and reached a two-year high in July on speculation that the Federal Reserve would slow its bond purchases later this year. But the Fed held off in September and now appears poised to wait at least a few more months to see how the economy performs. The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term interestĀ ratesĀ low.

MortgageĀ ratesĀ tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. They have stabilized since September and remain low by historical standards.

Still,Ā mortgageĀ ratesĀ are nearly a full percentage point higher than in the spring. The uptick has contributed to a slowdown in home sales. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes fell 3.2 percent in October, the second straight monthly decline.

To calculate averageĀ mortgageĀ rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowestĀ rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-yearĀ mortgageĀ was unchanged at 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also was steady at 0.7 point.

The averageĀ rateĀ on a one-year adjustable-rateĀ mortgageĀ held at 2.61 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.

The averageĀ rateĀ on a five-year adjustableĀ mortgageĀ fell to 2.95 percent from 3.01 percent. The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

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