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US rate on 30-year mortgage falls

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. mortgage rates declined this week, with the average on the 30-year fixed loan remaining just under 4 percent. But rates likely will surge next week now that Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Federal Reserve is likely to reduce its bond purchases later this year.

Bernanke's statements weren't fully reflected in the latest rates, which were compiled through Wednesday evening.

Concern that the Fed will wind down its bond purchases have pushed mortgage rates higher in recent weeks.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan eased to 3.93 percent last week. That's down from 3.98 percent last week but is still the highest level since April 2012.

The rate on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.04 percent from 3.10 percent. That's the highest since May 2012.

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