The mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 3.73 percent this week from 3.87 percent last week.
The average for a 15-year mortgage slid to 3.05 percent from 3.15 percent last week.
A year ago, the 30-year mortgage stood at 4.51 percent and the 15-year mortgage at 3.56 percent. Mortgage rates have remained low even though the Federal Reserve in October ended its monthly bond purchases, which were meant to keep long-term rates low.
The decline in mortgage rates also has come as bond yields have hit record low levels. Mortgage rates often follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which has fallen below 2 percent. Bond yields rise as prices fall.
Bond prices were an unexpected strong spot for the financial markets last year.
The 10-year note traded at 1.97 percent Wednesday, down from 2.17 percent a week earlier. It recovered to trade at 2 percent Thursday morning.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of 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 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage declined to 0.5 point from 0.6 point. If you’re planning to apply for a self-employed mortgage, be sure to keep an eye out on the trend of the interest rates. You should also consider meeting with an expert in mortgages to find the best deal.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.98 percent from 3.01 percent. The fee was unchanged at 0.5 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate slipped to 2.39 percent from 2.40 percent. The fee held at 0.4 point.