News Summary: US rate on 30-year loan at 4.40 pct.

The Associated Press

RATES UNCHANGED: Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages barely changed this week, giving prospective homebuyers time to lock in relatively low rates.

THE NUMBERS: Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average on the 30-year loan edged up to 4.40 percent from 4.39 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan was unchanged at 3.43 percent.

FED BOND BUYS: Mortgage rates spiked in June after Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the Federal Reserve could slow its bond purchases later this year. The bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing and spending.