30-year mortgage rate has been declining for the third week

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WASHINGTON >> Mortgage rates have been mixed this week. The estimated 30-year loan has been declining for the third straight week amid lingering concerns over the recent spike in inflation.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for a 30-year home loan fell to 2.88% from 2.90% last week, down from a 3.18% peak in April this year. The key rate a year ago was 2.98%.

The rate on the 15-year loan, a popular mortgage refinancing option among homeowners, rose to 2.22% from 2.20% last week.

Freddie Mac economists expect economic growth will gradually lead to higher mortgage rates in the second half of the year.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell drew attention to concerns about inflation, which has surged in recent months as the recovery from the pandemic recession has intensified. In testimony before a committee of the US House of Representatives on Wednesday, he suggested that inflation “is likely to remain high” in the coming months before “declining.” At the same time, Powell did not warn about the absence of imminent changes in the Fed’s ultra-low interest rate policy.

In a latest sign of rising inflationary pressures, the government said on Tuesday that prices paid by US consumers rose in June, the largest in 13 years. Inflation jumped for the third month in a row.

Further evidence emerged on Thursday that the economy and labor market are recovering quickly: The Labor Department said the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits last week hit their lowest level since the pandemic last year. The weekly count showed that the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell by 26,000 to 360,000.

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