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US long-term mortgage rates fall to low; 30-year at 2.81%

A for sale sign stands in front of a house, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Westwood, Mass.  U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year loan reached a new all-time low for the tenth time this year. Home loan rates have marked a year-long decline amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A for sale sign stands in front of a house, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Westwood, Mass. U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year loan reached a new all-time low for the tenth time this year. Home loan rates have marked a year-long decline amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week as the key 30-year loan reached a new all-time low for the tenth time this year.

Home loan rates have marked a year-long decline amid economic anxiety in the recession set off by the coronavirus pandemic. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year mortgage fell to 2.81% from 2.87% last week. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.69% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.35% from 2.37%.

The low borrowing rates have bolstered demand by prospective homebuyers. But the demand has been constrained by the economic hardship brought by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the scarcity of available homes for sale.

In the latest sign that layoffs remain a hindrance to the economy’s recovery from the pandemic recession, the government reported Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week by the most in two months to a historically high level.