WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages dropped last week to their lowest levels in four months, a positive sign for the housing recovery.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on 30-year loans fell to 4.13 percent. That’s down from 4.28 percent. The average rate on 15-year loans declined to 3.24 percent from 3.33 percent.
Both averages are the lowest since June 20.
Mortgage rates have been falling since September, when the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases. The bond buys are intended to keep longer-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates.
And a slowdown in hiring in September makes it more likely that the Fed will continue its stimulus into next year.
Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on 10-year Treasury notes. The 10-year note traded at 2.50 percent Wednesday, down sharply from 2.61 percent last Thursday.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country on 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 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for 30-year mortgages ticked up to 0.8 point from 0.7 point. The fee for 15-year loans declined to 0.6 point from 0.7 point.
The average rate on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 2.60 percent from 2.63 percent.
The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.
The average rate on five-year adjustable mortgages dropped to 3 percent from 3.07 percent.
The fee was unchanged at 0.4 point.