LOS ANGELES (AP) — The average rate on a 30-year mortgage dipped to just below 7% this week, little relief for prospective homebuyers already facing the challenges of rising housing prices and a relatively limited inventory of homes on the market.

The rate fell to 6.99% from 7.03% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.

A year ago, the rate averaged 6.71%.

Mortgage rates are influenced by several factors, including how the bond market reacts to the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy and the moves in the 10-year Treasury yield, which lenders use as a guide to pricing home loans.

Yields eased this week following economic data showing slower growth.