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Cheaper mortgages are a key reason home sales have risen to their highest level in three years. (AP Photo/File)

Home-loan rates tick down, near record lows

Average rates on fixed mortgages moved closer to their record lows this week, according to the Associated Press.

Freddie Mac, one of the primary players in the U.S. mortgage markets, reported that the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate loan slipped to 3.34 percent from 3.35 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on record dating to 1971.

The average on the 15-year, fixed mortgage ticked down to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.66 percent in 2012, the lowest annual average in 65 years, according to Freddie Mac.

Cheaper mortgages are a key reason home sales have risen to their highest level in three years.

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