Mortgage rates in the US decreased for a second week in a row.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan fell to 7.12% from 7.18% a week earlier, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

Mortgage rates have been above 7% for the past four weeks and have more than doubled since the start of 2022. The surge in borrowing costs has stifled home sales and sidelined many buyers, squeezing affordability.

“While inflation has decelerated, firmer economic data have put upward pressure on mortgage rates which, in the face of affordability challenges, are straining potential homebuyers,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

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Higher rates have weighed on demand, sending a gauge of applications for home-purchase loans to a 28-year low last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

House hunters are also confronting a dearth of properties for sale, which has kept prices elevated. About 97% of home sellers in the US made a profit during the three months ended July 31, according to data from Redfin Corp.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.