LOS ANGELES (NEWSnet/AP) — Mortgage rates eased again this week as the latest pullback leaves the average rate on a 30-year home loan at close to 7%, where it's been much of this year.

The rate fell to 6.95% from 6.99% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. A year ago, the rate averaged 6.69%.

Borrowing costs on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular with homeowners refinancing their home loans, also eased this week, lowering the average rate to 6.17% from 6.29% last week. A year ago, it averaged 6.10%, Freddie Mac said.

Home loan rates are influenced by several factors, including how the bond market reacts to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy and the moves in the 10-year Treasury yield, which lenders use as a guide to pricing home loans.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage remains near a two-decade high, adding hundreds of dollars a month in costs on a home loan, limiting homebuyers’ purchasing options.

Elevated mortgage rates dampened home sales this spring homebuying season. Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in March and April as home shoppers contended with rising borrowing costs and prices.

The recent pullback in mortgage rates has spurred a pickup in home loan applications, which jumped nearly 16% last week from a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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