US average mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 4.45 percent

US average mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 4.45 percent
In this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, photo a sign is displayed outside a house for sale in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood. Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, on Thursday, Jan. 10, releases weekly mortgage rates. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates continued to fall this week, reaching their lowest levels in nine months.

The decline in home borrowing rates in recent weeks has been a spur to prospective homebuyers, reflected in a spike in applications for mortgages. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 4.45 percent this week from 4.51 percent last week.

Rates remain far above last year’s levels, however. The key 30-year rate averaged 3.99 percent a year ago.

The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate loans fell to 3.89 percent from 3.99 percent last week.