WASHINGTON >> Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.89 percent from 3.90 percent last week. While historically low, that’s still above last year’s average of 3.65 percent. The benchmark rate stood at 3.43 percent a year ago.
The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans fell to 3.16 percent from 3.18 percent last week.
Record-low interest rates have helped spur home purchases and boosted the housing market. Yet despite the low mortgage rates to lure prospective homebuyers, the housing market has remained hampered by tight mortgage credit, rising home prices and tight supply of homes on the market.
In the latest indication of low inventory constraining home purchases, real estate brokerage Redfin reported Thursday that sales in July declined 3.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes for sale fell 11 percent, marking 22 straight months of year-over-year declines in inventory, according to Redfin.
U.S. jobless aid requests fall by 12,000
WASHINGTON >> Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, as the number of people seeking benefits remained close to historic lows.
Weekly unemployment applications fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 232,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The less volatile four-week average slipped 500 to 240,500. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits has fallen 9 percent over the past 12 months to 1.9 million.
The job market appears solid as the U.S. enters its ninth year of recovery from the Great Recession. Employers are holding onto workers with the expectation that business will continue to improve. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 128 weeks in a row. That’s the longest such stretch since 1970.
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