WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, making it slightly more affordable to borrow for a home.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.95 percent from 3.99 percent last week. The average has tumbled from 4.20 percent a year ago.

Relatively low mortgage rates have helped would-be homebuyers who are coping with rising housing costs. The National Association of Realtors said the median home sales price increased 5.8 percent from a year ago to $248,000 in November. Part of the reason why prices have risen so much is that the number of homes on the market has declined by nearly 10 percent since November 2016.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.38 percent from 3.44 percent in the prior week. This same rate average 3.44 percent last year.

The interest charged on U.S. Treasury notes dropped from a week ago, causing mortgage rates to slip in response.

The average on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages slipped to 3.45 percent from 3.47 percent last week.

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JOSH BOAK
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