WASHINGTON – Dec. 14, 2012– Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week near record lows, providing more incentive for Americans to buy homes and refinance. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.32 percent. That’s below last week’s rate of 3.34 percent. And it’s just above the 3.31 percent, the lowest rate on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage declined to 2.66 percent from 2.67 percent last week. The record low is 2.63 percent. The rate on the 30-year loan has remained below 4 percent all year, helping spark a modest housing recovery. Sales of newly built and previously occupied homes are up from a year ago. Home prices have increased. And builders are more confident in the market and are responding by starting construction on more homes.