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Average mortgage rates flat to higher as 30-year rate ticks up

WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates were flat to higher this week. The benchmark 30-year home loan remained below the 3% mark amid continued positive indications of the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average for the 30-year rate rose to 2.99% from 2.95% last week. At this time last year, the average long-term rate stood at 3.18%.

The rate for a 15-year loan, popular among those seeking to refinance, was unchanged from last week at 2.27%.

In the latest economic news, the government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week for a fifth straight week, to 385,000, a new pandemic low and additional evidence that the job market is regaining its health as the economy further reopens.

With historically low mortgage rates prevailing, the U.S. housing market has grown so overheated as demand outpaces supply that prices keep hitting record highs — and about half of all houses are now selling above their list price.

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