By Associated Press
Average rates on U.S. fixed mortgages declined this week as concern waned in the financial markets over the Federal Reserve’s possible slowing of its bond purchases this year.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average on the 30-year loan slipped to 4.37 percent. That’s down from 4.51 percent last week but is still near the highest level in nearly two years.
Just two months ago the rate was 3.35 percent, barely above the record low of 3.31 percent. Rates had surged in recent weeks amid concern over the Fed’s bond purchases, which have kept interest rates low.
The average on the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.41 percent from 3.53 percent last week.
Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the Fed will continue to stimulate the economy, even after it begins to slow the bond purchases.
Even with the recent gains, mortgage rates remain low by historical standards. Low rates have helped fuel a housing recovery that is helping to drive economic growth this year.
Greater demand, along with a tight supply of homes for sale, has pushed up home prices. It also has led to more home construction, which has created more jobs.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.7 point this week, down from 0.8 point last week. The fee for a 15-year loan also slipped to 0.7 point from 0.8 point.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage fell to 3.17 percent from 3.26 percent. The fee eased to 0.6 point from 0.7.