WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates fell for a second straight week amid signs of economic improvement.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the benchmark 30-year home-loan rate declined to 3.04% this week from 3.13% last week. At this time last year, the long-term rate was 3.31%.

The rate for a 15-year loan, popular among those looking to refinance, dipped to 2.35% from to 2.42% last week.

Last week’s decline was the first in more than two months. Mortgage rates have been at historically low levels, but strong demand and low supply of available homes have pushed prices higher in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic has fueled demand for single-family homes as people look for more space.

Experts expect home-loan rates to increase modestly for the rest of the year, while remaining at low levels in light of the Federal Reserve’s stated intention to keep its principal borrowing rate near zero until the economy recovers from the pandemic.

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