Long-term US mortgage rates move little; 30-year at 4.44 pct

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates moved little this week after a months-long stretch of increases.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked down to 4.44 percent from 4.45 percent last week. The benchmark rate averaged 4.14 percent a year ago.

Rates are relatively low by historical standards, but they have shot up from an average that remained below 4 percent last year. Mortgage rates rose steadily in January, February and early March, as interest rates generally increased in response to higher levels of government debt and expectations of rising inflation. Last week's slight gain was the 10th increase in 11 weeks.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans slipped to 3.90 percent this week from 3.91 percent last week.

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