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Washington — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week, with the key 30-year loan rate remaining under 4 percent.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down to 3.93 percent from 3.94 percent a week earlier. A year ago, the average rate was 4.10 percent.

The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages eased this week to 3.15 percent from 3.17 percent.

Investors and financial experts are watching for an anticipated interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve next month, which could bring higher rates for home loans. The Fed has kept its key short-term rate near zero since the financial crisis year 2008.

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