Long-term mortgage rates continue to rise 

According to the Associated Press, the average long-term U.S. mortgage rate rose this week for the second week in a row, another setback for homebuyers facing a housing market that remains unaffordable for many Americans. 

The average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan edged up to 6.43% from 6.39% last week. A year ago, it averaged 5.10%. Higher rates can add hundreds of dollars a month in costs for homebuyers, on top of already high home prices. 

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular with those refinancing their homes, the average rate fell this week to 5.71% from 5.76% a week earlier. 

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage reached a two-decade high of 7.08% last fall. This year, it has ranged between 6.09% in early February and 6.73% early last month. 

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell 2.4% from February to March to an annual rate of 4.44 million. The national median home price fell to $375,700 last month — down 0.9% from a year earlier and the biggest year-over-year drop since January 2012.  

Despite the pullback in home prices, a near-historic low inventory of properties for sale is fueling bidding wars in many markets, especially for the most affordable homes.