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Mortgage rates decline

McLEAN, Va. -- Mortgage rates in the United States dropped for a second week, sending 30-year borrowing costs to the lowest point for 2014.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.1 percent, down from 4.12 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average 15-year rate slipped to 3.23 percent from 3.24 percent, according to the mortgage finance company.

The 30-year rate was last this low at the end of October.

It has declined from a two-year high of 4.58 percent last August, helping support home demand.

Previously owned houses sold at an annualized rate of 5.15 million in July, up 2.4 percent from the previous month and the most since September, the National Association of Realtors (NRA) said Thursday.

“The longer rates are down at these levels, the more activity we’re going to get,” Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C., said before the data were released. “They’re helping in some way, but that activity may be less than hoped for.”

Last month’s sales pace was down 4.3 percent from July 2013, figures from the NRA show.

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