Long-term mortgage rates edge lower
WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates declined this week after two straight weeks of increases. The benchmark 30-year rate slipped back below the 4 percent level.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average 3.96 percent from 4.03 percent last week. It stood at 3.45 percent a year ago and averaged a record low 3.65 percent in 2016.
The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, eased to 3.23 percent from 3.29 percent last week.
Mortgage rates still remain historically low even though the Federal Reserve has begun to ratchet up short-term interest rates.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., surveys lenders across the country between Monday and 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.