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U.S. Mortgage Rates Little Changed Near Lowest on Record

U.S. mortgage rates were little changed, keeping borrowing costs close to the record lows that have helped spur demand for homes.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.34 percent in the week ended today, down from 3.35 percent, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15-year rate slipped to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent.

Low interest rates have bolstered the housing market by making real estate more affordable. Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in November to the highest level since April 2010, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

“Interest rates are likely to stay low throughout 2013,” Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy, a real estate research company, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “That will continue to offer people a chance to buy a home and lock in a low rate, and I think that continues to be a stimulus for the housing market.”

Purchases of new homes rose 4.4 percent in November from the previous month to a 377,000 pace, the most since April 2010, the Commerce Department reported last week.

The average 30-year mortgage rate dropped to a record 3.31 percent in November, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate fell to 2.63 percent.

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