30-year mortgage at lowest rate since 1971


Mortgage rates continued to decline this week, plunging to the lowest level in decades, according to surveys from Freddie Mac and Bankrate.

Freddie Mac’s weekly report said the 30-year fixed rate slipped to 4.44% for the week ended Thursday, the lowest since the government-backed lender began tracking the rate in 1971. Last week’s rates stood at 4.49%, and a year ago it was at 5.29%.

The 15-year fixed rate fell to 3.92% this week, the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking it 1991, down from 3.95% last week and from 4.68% a year ago.

Adjustable-rate mortgages also declined, with the 5-year rate falling to 3.56% this week, the lowest since 2005 when the lender began tracking it.

Mortgage tracker Bankrate.com, which surveys large lenders across the country, said the average 30-year fixed loan sank to a record low for the fourth consecutive week, falling to 4.57% from 4.66% the previous week.

The 15-year fixed rate, which is a popular option for refinancing, also fell to the lowest level in the history of Bankrate’s 25-year old survey, dipping to 4.06%, from 4.11% the week before.

While the 1-year adjustable-rate mortgage held steady at 4.8% for a fourth week, the 5-year adjustable rate mortgage dropped to a record low of 3.92% from 3.95% the previous week.

“Low rates are helping to heal many battered local housing markets by increasing home-purchase activity, said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac.

Mortgage rate applications inched up a modest 0.6% during the week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for purchase rose 0.3% while refinance applications increased 0.6%

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