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Washington – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for the second straight week, with relatively lower rates continuing to fail to spark home sales.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 4.53 percent from 4.59 percent last week. Long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. The average benchmark 30-year rate reached a high this year of 4.66 percent on May 24. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.89 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans fell to 4.01 percent this week from 4.05 percent last week.

Mortgage rates have remained mostly steady since late spring despite higher rates of inflation and unease in world financial markets. But the pause in borrowing rates “is not leading to increasing home sales,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.

Rising home prices, tight inventories of affordable homes and historically higher mortgage rates are to blame, Khater said.

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 also remained at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.87 percent from 3.90 percent last week. The fee increased to 0.4 point from 0.3 point.

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