US long-term mortgage rates slip; 30-year at 2.73%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates slipped this week as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan eased to 2.73% from 2.77% last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.51% a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, ticked down to 2.20% from 2.21%.

The damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. and global economies suppressed home loan rates through most of 2020. The U.S. economy shrank last year by the largest amount in 74 years, the government reported Thursday, despite the trillions of dollars in federal aid that flowed to American families and small businesses. The deep recession triggered by the pandemic that erupted in the U.S. 10 months ago left tens of millions of people jobless.

Economists forecast modest increases in mortgage rates this year. But they likely will remain relatively low, with the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near zero as needed until the economy recovers.