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Rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.71 pct.

WASHINGTON — Average rates on fixed mortgages rose this week, the first increase in seven weeks. But mortgage rates remain near historic lows, boosting prospects for home sales this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.71 percent. That’s up from 3.67 percent last week, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, rose to 2.98 percent. That’s up from 2.94 percent last week, also a record low.

The rate on the 30-year loan has been below 4 percent since early December. The low rates are a key reason the housing industry is showing modest signs of a recovery this year.



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