US average mortgage rates decline; 30-year at 2.98%


WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates declined this week, with the key 30-year loan slipping back below the 3% mark as the economic recovery from the pandemic recession remains robust.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average for the 30-year home loan eased to 2.98% from 3.02% last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.07% a year ago.

The rate for a 15-year loan, a popular option among homeowners refinancing their mortgages, fell to 2.26% from 2.34% last week. Mortgage rates are widely expected to gradually rise in the second half of the year that began Thursday.

The government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell again last week to the lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the job market and the broader economy are rebounding rapidly from the coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 51,000, to 364,000.

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