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WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows, giving would-be buyers more incentive to brave the housing market.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.56 percent. That's down from 3.62 percent last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on the 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 2.86 percent, below last week's previous record of 2.89 percent.

The rate on the 30-year loan has fallen to or matched record low levels in 11 of the past 12 weeks.

Cheaper mortgages have contributed to a modest housing recovery this year. Home sales were up in May from the same month last year. And home prices are rising in most markets.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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