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Mortgage rates tumble for the second week in a row

Washington, DC CNN  —  Mortgage rates dropped for the second week in a row, falling nearly a quarter of a percentage point over the past two weeks in the face of stronger-than-expected employment and inflation data. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.74% in the week ending March 14, down from 6.88% the previous week, according to data from Freddie Mac released Thursday. A year ago, the average 30-year fixed-rate was 6.60%. But while rates are expected to move around in the next few months, homebuyers shouldn’t expect a major drop. “Despite the recent dip, mortgage rates remain high as the market contends with the pressure of sticky inflation,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. “In this environment, there is a good possibility that rates will stay higher for a longer period of time.” A house is for sale in Arlington, Virginia, July 13, 2023. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Related article Biden says he can fix America’s housing affordability crisis. Will it work? Over the past four months, mortgage rates have come down from their highest levels of last year: 7.79%. This has brought improved affordability for homebuyers who’ve been struggling in one of the least affordable markets in decades. But with February’s robust inflation readings and surprisingly strong job numbers, the economy seems to be running hotter than analysts and economists would like. Buyers continue to be exceptionally rate-sensitive. After rates dropped slightly last week, more would-be buyers came to the market. Applications for mortgages were up 7% in the week ending March 8 from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.