The rate on the 30-year mortgage fell last week, staying below 5 percent. But low rates have done little to lift the struggling housing market.
Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan declined to 4.80 percent from 4.91 percent the previous week. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.02 percent from 4.13 percent. It reached 3.57 percent in November, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991.
Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell earlier this week.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose slightly last month to a seasonally adjusted pace of 5.1 million homes a year, the National Association of Realtors said this week. But the March gains were driven by a rise in foreclosure sales to investors. Even with the increase, home sales remained below the 6-million-homes-a-year pace considered healthy by most economists.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.61 percent from 3.78 percent. The five-year adjustable-rate loan hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005.
The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate loan fell to 3.16 percent from 3.25 percent. That marked the lowest level for the rate on the 1-year ARM in the last year.
The rates do not include add-on fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for the 30-year fixed loan and 15-year fixed loan in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.7 point. The average fee for the five-year ARM and the 1-year ARM was 0.6 point.
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