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US mortgage rates at all-time lows; 30-year loan at 3.23%

A real estate sign is posted in front of a home for sale in San Francisco on Feb. 18, 2020. (Jeff Chiu / AP)
A real estate sign is posted in front of a home for sale in San Francisco on Feb. 18, 2020. (Jeff Chiu / AP)

WASHINGTON – Long-term mortgage rates tumbled to all-time lows this week as the economy and housing market continued to reel from the business and social shutdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

The average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan fell to 3.23%, the lowest level since mortgage buyer Freddie Mac started tracking rates in 1971. That was down from 3.33% last week and 4.14% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.77% from 2.86% last week, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

Demand from prospective homebuyers has weakened amid economic anxiety, and the housing market has been upended by the pandemic just as it was entering the busy spring season. The latest blow of economic news came Thursday with the government report that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits because of the pandemic has soared past 30 million.

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2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.