Average long-term US mortgage rates tumble to 6.61%

WASHINGTON (AP) — The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate tumbled by nearly a half-point this week, but will likely remain a significant barrier for potential homebuyers as Federal Reserve officials have all but promised more rate hikes in the coming months. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate fell to 6.61% from 7.08% last week. It was 3.1% a year ago. The rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with those refinancing their homes, fell to 5.98% from 6.38%. Late last month, the average long-term U.S. mortgage rate breached 7% for the first time since 2002.