The average rate of 4.57 percent was unchanged from last week, Freddie Mac reported in its weekly survey Thursday. A year ago, the average interest rate was 3.55 percent.
Also unchanged this week was the 3.59 percent average interest rate on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage. A year ago, average rate was 2.85 percent.
Despite the pause, most economists expect home loan rates to edge closer to 5 percent by year's end, affecting affordability. Only four months ago, in early May, the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.35 percent.
Applications to refinance existing mortgages fell 20 percent last week from the previous week, to its lowest level since June 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Meanwhile, home-purchase mortgage applications last week were down 3 percent from the previous week.
The slowdown in mortgage activity, particularly the refinancings that drove the industry when rates were low but few were buying homes, has triggered unemployment in the housing industry. Several of the largest lenders, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, have laid off thousands of employees from their home mortgage businesses.
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