Long-term mortgage rates have fallen to new lows after the Federal Reserve decided this week to step back into the Treasuries market.
A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.17 percent in the week ending Nov. 11, down from 4.24 percent last week. A 15-year fixed-rate loan averaged 3.57 percent, down from 3.63 percent last week.
Both are the lowest rates since Freddie Mac (OTCBB:FMCC) began keeping track.
"Following the Fed's Nov. 3 policy announcement that it plans to purchase up to $600 billion in government securities, Treasury bond yields initially fell and then gradually rose again," says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "This allowed mortgage rates to fall to record lows this week."
Unfortunately, historically low mortgage rates haven't translated into gains for the residential real estate market - at least not in the Charlotte region.
As previously reported, the number of homes sold last month in the Charlotte area fell 23.3 percent from October 2009, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.
The group says 1,695 homes were sold last month in the region, down from 2,210 a year earlier. However, closings were up 2.2 percent from September.
The average sales price rose 3.4 percent to $202,840 from $196,204 in October 2009. But the average price was down 0.5 percent from the previous month.
Pending sales contracts last month totaled 1,617, a drop of 32.6 percent from the year before and down 2.5 percent from 1,658 in September.