Average US 30-year loan rate falls to 3.73 pct.

In this photo made Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014, a for sale by owner sign sits in front of a home in Richardson, Texas. Mortgage company Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. mortgage rates started the year by dipping to new lows, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking its lowest level since May 2013.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.73 percent this week from 3.87 percent last week.

The average for a 15-year mortgage slid to 3.05 percent from 3.15 percent last week.

A year ago, the 30-year mortgage stood at 4.51 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.56 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to keep long-term rates low.

The decline in mortgage rates also has come as bond yields have hit record low levels.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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