Courtesy of Reuters 5/27/10
U.S. mortgage rates continued their downward trek in the past week, edging closer to a record low set in early December, according to a survey released on Thursday by Freddie Mac, the second-largest U.S. mortgage finance company.
Lower interest rates on mortgages should buoy home loan refinancing activity, putting more cash into consumers' hands to funnel into the U.S. economy. It also makes homes more affordable during the most important period, the spring selling season.
Interest rates on U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, the most widely used loan, averaged 4.78 percent for the week ended May 27, down from the previous week's 4.84 percent, according to the survey.
That is below the year-ago level of 4.91 percent and also the lowest the rate has been since the week ended Dec. 3, 2009 when it hit a record low of 4.71 percent. Freddie Mac started the survey in 1971.
"These low rates will help to elevate home-buyer affordability and soften the effects of the sunset of the home-buyer tax credit," Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.
Mortgage rates are linked to yields on Treasuries and yields on mortgage-backed securities.