iStock_000004877686XSmallAverage U.S. mortgage rates fell for the third straight week, making it more affordable to borrow to buy a home.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year loan fell to 4.12% from 4.19% last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, also declined to 3.3% from 3.36%.

The 30-year rate is down from 4.53% at the start of the year.

Rates have fallen even though the Federal Reserve appears set at the end of this month to end its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low. Yet Fed officials have indicated that they will continue to hold shorter-term rates at near-zero levels until there are signs of rising inflation.

Fed actions often influence the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which affects mortgage rates. The 10-year note was trading at 2.32% at midday Thursday, down sharply from 2.41% a week earlier.

Mortgage rates are falling as the housing market has cooled off. Average price growth has slowed, rising just 6.4% in August compared with a year ago, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic. That’s down from annual average gains of as much as 12% toward the end of last year.