Mortgage Rates Set New Lows Again: 30-Year Fixed at 4.17%

Low interest ratesBoth key long-term mortgage rates resumed their record-setting ways this week with new lows:  the 30-year fixed at 4.17 percent and the 15-year fixed at 3.57 percent, according to Freddie Mac.
The 30-year-fixed rate was down from last week’s 4.24 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed averaged 4.91 percent.
The 15-year fixed dropped from 3.63 percent, compared to last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed averaged 4.36 percent.
The Federal Reserve’s widely-anticipated new debt purchase program to prop up the economy was a major factor, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
“Following the Federal Reserve November 3rd policy announcement that it plans to purchase up to $600 billion in government securities, Treasury bond yields initially fell and then gradually rose again,” Nothaft said. “This allowed mortgage rates to fall to record levels this week.”
But historically low mortgage rates, which has seen the long-term rates stay under 5 percent for seven straight months, have yet to make a significant impact on the weak housing market.
“The unemployment rate has remained at 9.5 percent or higher for the past 15 months, while commercial banks tightened lending standards in 16 of the last 17 quarters, according to the Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey,” Nothaft said.

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