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Fixed mortgage rates fall to 2011 lows

NEW YORK — Fixed mortgage rates hit the lowest point of the year for the third straight week.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 4.60 percent from 4.61 percent. That’s the lowest point since mid-December. The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinance option, slipped to 3.78 percent from 3.80 percent. That marked the lowest level since late November.

While low rates make purchasing a home more attractive, sales are still slumping. Sales of new homes rose in April from the previous month, but are down almost a quarter from last year. And the number of people buying previously occupied homes is well below what economists consider healthy.

Rates track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which crept lower this week.