WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on 30-year and 15-year fixedmortgages dropped to record lows again this week, with the 15-yearloan dipping below 3 percent for the first time ever. Low rates have helped brighten the outlook for home sales thisyear. They have made home-buying and refinancing more attractive tothose who can qualify.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said today that the average rate on the30-year loan fell to 3.75 percent. That’s down from 3.78 percentlast week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the1950s. The 15-year mortgage, a popular refinancing option, slipped to 2.97percent. That’s down from 3.04 percent last week. Rates on the 30-year loan have been below 4 percent since earlyDecember.
The low rates are a key reason the housing industry isshowing modest signs of a recovery this year. A drop in rates could also provide some help to the economy if morepeople refinance. When people refinance at lower rates, they payless interest on their loans and have more money to spend. In April, sales of both previously occupied homes and new homesrose near two-year highs. Builders are gaining more confidence inthe market, breaking ground on more homes and requesting morepermits to build single-family homes later this year. Samsung Car Phone Chargers
A better job market also has made more people open to buying ahome. Employers have added 1 million jobs in the past five months.The unemployment has dropped a full percentage point since August,from 9.1 percent to 8.1 percent in April. Still, the pace of home sales remains well below healthy levels.Economists say it could be years before the market is fully healed. Many people are having difficulty qualifying for home loans orcan’t afford larger down payments required by banks. Some would-behome buyers are holding off because they fear that home pricescould keep falling. Micro USB Vehicle Power Charger Manufacturer
Mortgage rates have been dropping because they tend to track theyield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has fallen this week to a66-year low. Uncertainty about how Europe will resolve its debtcrisis has led investors to buy more Treasury securities, which areconsidered safe investments. As demand for Treasurys increase, theyield falls. To calculate average rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across thecountry on Monday through Wednesday of each week. The average does not include extra fees, known as points, whichmost borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. Samsung Car Phone Chargers
One point equals 1percent of the loan amount. The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.8, unchanged from lastweek. The fee for 15-year loans also was steady, at 0.7. The average rate on one-year adjustable rate mortgages wasunchanged at 2.75 percent. The fee for one-year adjustable rateloans was 0.4, also unchanged from last week.