The benchmark U.S. mortgage rate fell this week to its lowest in almost five years, staying below 7% for a record 12 weeks, Freddie Mac reported.

The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 6.82% in the week that ends today from the previous week's 6.92%, according to a weekly survey of mortgage rates by Freddie Mac, the second-largest buyer of U.S. home mortgages.

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