WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages was unchanged for a second week, remaining near historic lows.
The rate on 15-year mortgages also stayed the same. Low mortgage rates are helping to strengthen the housing recovery.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on 30-year loans averaged 3.53% for a second week. That's near November's 3.31%, which was the lowest rate on records going back to 1971.
The rate on 15-year fixed mortgages stayed at 2.77% for a second week. The record low is 2.63%.
Adjustable rates rose slightly. One-year adjustable mortgages averaged 2.61%, up from 2.53% last week. AndÂ the average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged up to 2.64% this week from 2.63% last week.
Low mortgage rates have helped boost sales, and that has helped push home prices up, which makes consumers feel wealthier and helps boost consumer spending. Increased housing demand is also boosting home construction.
Still, housing has a long way to go to achieve a full recovery. And many people are unable to take advantage of low mortgage rates, either because they can't qualify under stricter lending rules or they lack the money to meet larger down payment requirements.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
The average fee for 30-year loans was 0.8 point, same as last week. The fee for 15-year mortgages was 0.8 point, up from 0.7 point last week. The fee for one-year adjustable rate mortgages was 0.3 point, down from 0.4 point last week.
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