US 30-year mortgage rate drops to record 3.56 pct.

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Associated Press

Posted on July 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 12 at 12:18 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows, giving would-be buyers more incentive to brave the housing market.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.56 percent. That's down from 3.62 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.86 percent, below last week's previous record of 2.89 percent.

The rate on the 30-year loan has fallen to or matched record low levels in 11 of the past 12 weeks.

Cheaper mortgages have contributed to a modest housing recovery this year. Home sales were up in May from the same month last year. And home prices are rising in most markets.

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