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Average U.S. mortgage rate at 4.17 percent

In this May 14, 2014 photo, a sign hangs in front of a new home for sale in Riverview, Fla.  Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
In this May 14, 2014 photo, a sign hangs in front of a new home for sale in Riverview, Fla. Freddie Mac reports on average U.S. mortgage rates for this week on Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages eased slightly this week, remaining near historic lows.

The average rate for a 30-year loan declined to 4.17 percent from 4.20 percent last week, Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. The average for the 15-year mortgage dipped to 3.30 percent from 3.31 percent.

Rising prices and higher interest rates beginning in mid-2013 have made homes less affordable for would-be buyers. At the same time, a limited supply of homes is available to buy. Sales of new homes are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market.

Mortgage rates are about a quarter of a percentage point higher than they were at the same time last year.

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