WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were mostly unchanged this week amid signals from the Federal Reserve that it is preparing to cut interest rates soon.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year mortgage stood at 3.75%, the same as the previous week. A year ago the rate stood at 4.53%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans ticked up this week to 3.22% from 3.18%. It was 4.02% one year ago.

Low interest rates and stabilizing home prices appear to be nudging some home buyers. The National Association of Realtors says that more Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in May compared with the prior month.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped this week to 0.5 point from 0.6 point.

The average fee for the 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.46% from 3.45% last week. The fee held steady at 0.4 point

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