Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low

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Mortgage rates tumbled to the lowest level in the history of Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, with 30-year fixed-rate home loans being offered this week at an average 4.15%, down from last week’s 4.32%.

Freddie Mac said in its weekly report that loans with variable interest rates also hit record lows, as did shorter-term fixed-rate loans. The 15-year fixed-rate loan, a popular choice with people refinancing their homes, was being offered at an average rate of 3.36%, down from 3.50% last week, Freddie Mac said.

The survey includes loans made with minimal payments of fees and points to lenders. The borrowers getting 30-year loans this week would have paid 0.7% of the loan amount in upfront fees and discount points, and borrowers would have paid 0.6% of the loan amount for the 15-year fixed loans, Freddie Mac said.

The rates, available to the lucky folks who have weathered the recession and housing debacle in solid financial shape, are the lowest since Freddie Mac’s survey began in 1971 — and almost as low as anyone can recall.

Long-term fixed-rate mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration averaged 4.08% for a several months in 1950-51, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. FHA loans, which have additional costs, are available to people who are greater credit risks than those in the Freddie Mac survey.

Long-term mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has tumbled in recent weeks as investors bailed out of the stock market and loaded up on Treasuries, seeing them as a less-scary investment option.

The Freddie Mac survey’s previous low for the 30-year loan was 4.17%, recorded last November after the Fed said it would buy $600 billion in Treasury securities, creating demand that drove down the 10-year T-note’s yield.

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