The average U.S. 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell this week to 4.85%, the lowest on record, on a government plan to increase purchases of mortgage-backed bonds and buy as much as $300 billion of Treasuries.

The average rate is the lowest in the Freddie Mac weekly survey dating to 1971, the McLean, Va., government-sponsored enterprise said Thursday. The rate fell 13 basis points from last week, Freddie said.

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