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Washington – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates were flat to lower this week. The benchmark 30-year rate marked its fourth decline in the past five weeks.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.55 percent, down from 4.57 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.88 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans was unchanged from last week at 4.04 percent.

Long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average 30-year mortgage rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24; the 15-year rate hit 4.15 percent that day.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point.

The fee on 15-year mortgages rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.87 percent from 3.83 percent. The fee remained at 0.3 point.

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