Policy: Economy

Average US 30-year mortgage rate down to 4.34 pct.

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Photo - FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 file photo a for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Walpole, Mass.  Freddie Mac reports on mortgage rates for this week Thursday April 14, 2014.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 file photo a for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Walpole, Mass. Freddie Mac reports on mortgage rates for this week Thursday April 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
News,Business,Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week closer to historically low levels as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.34 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.38 percent from 3.47 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

The spring buying season raises a dilemma: Too few homeowners are selling and too few buyers can afford the market prices.

Average home sale prices rose by double-digit percentages last year and are expected to rise by single digits this year, with the strongest gains in such areas with solid job growth as Austin, Texas.

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