US rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.34 pct.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages moved closer to their record lows this week, a trend that has made home buying more affordable and helped sustain a housing recovery.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan slipped to 3.34 percent from 3.35 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage ticked down to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.66 percent in 2012, the lowest annual average in 65 years, according to Freddie Mac.
Cheaper mortgages are a key reason the housing market began to come back last year and many economists predict the recovery will strengthen in 2013.
In November, sales of previously occupied homes rose to their highest level in three years, while new-home sales reached a 2½-year high. Home prices are steadily increasing, which makes consumers feel wealthier and more likely to spend.
Another reason for the recovery: the nation doesn't have enough houses for sale. The number of new homes available for sale at the end of November was just slightly above the lowest on records dating to 1963. And the supply of previously occupied homes for sale was at an 11-year low that month.
A limited supply has created demand for new construction, which has made builders more confident.
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 21543Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10852Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 8707Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 8666Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 8648Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 7837Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 7718Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister