US mortgage rates mostly held steady this week

WASHINGTON — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were unchanged this week, possibly helping affordability as home borrowing costs have been steadily declining since early November.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage held at 4.35 percent for the second straight week. This represents a slight decline from an average of 4.43 percent a year ago.

The average rate this week for 15-year, fixed-rate loans declined to 3.77 percent from 3.78 percent.

Mortgage rates hew closely to changes in the interest charged on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes. Lower borrowing costs appear to have improved the number of January contract signings to buy homes, making homes more affordable.

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