(Bloomberg) -- Mortgage rates in the US fell for a second straight week, giving home shoppers a bit of a break as the Federal Reserve monitors inflation data.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan was 6.95%, down from 6.99% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. 

A key measure of consumer prices cooled in May to the slowest pace in more than three years, data released this week showed. Yet housing inflation remains high, putting pressure on renters and buyers and casting doubt over the prospect of imminent Fed rate cuts.

“From a higher-level perspective, as the housing market goes, so does the country,” said Ralph McLaughlin, senior economist at Realtor.com. “Since shelter makes up a large portion of our primary measures of inflation, a slowdown in the growth of both prices and rents may be what the broader economy needs to get the Fed to cut rates.”

The central bank left its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday and scaled back its forecast for this year to just one reduction instead of three. Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged “modest” improvement toward the goal of 2% inflation but reiterated that policymakers would seek more sustainable progress before cutting rates.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.