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US mortgage rates jump to highest level in 7 years

In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo a for sale sign stands in front of a house, in Walpole, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week to the highest level in seven years, a trend that is pulling down home sales and slowing home price growth.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.94 percent, from 4.83 percent last week. A year ago the rate was 3.9 percent.

The average rate on a 15-year, fixed rate loan increased to 4.33 percent, from 4.23 percent last week.

Higher rates have kept many would-be purchasers on the sidelines. Sales of existing homes have fallen for six straight months, and sales of newly-built homes have declined for four months.

Freddie Mac says home price increases are slowing as a result, particularly in higher-priced coastal cities.

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