WASHINGTON – Interest rates on U.S. 30-year mortgages (search) edged slightly lower in the latest week, continuing to offer an enticing rate to prospective home owners, mortgage finance company Freddie Mac (FRE) said on Wednesday.
U.S. 30-year mortgage rates dipped to an average of 5.72 percent in the week ended Nov. 24, from 5.74 percent a week earlier.
Freddie Mac said 15-year mortgages were unchanged from last week's average of 5.15 percent, but one-year adjustable rate mortgages inched upward to an average of 4.27 percent from 4.17 percent last week.
A year ago, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.83 percent, 15-year mortgages 5.17 percent and the ARM 3.72 percent. The Freddie Mac report, normally released on Thursday, was issued one day early due to the Thanksgiving Day federal holiday.
"At this time last year, our forecast called for interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to exceed 6 percent by this time this year," Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.
"Today's annual average mortgage rates are below even that projection thanks to the spring 'soft-patch' in economic growth," he said.
"Nevertheless, our outlook is that long-term rates are destined to rise to a still homebuyer-friendly range that will most likely cause home sales to cool relative to their current record highs," Nothaft added.
Earlier on Wednesday the Commerce Department (search) said U.S. October single-family home sales rose 0.2 percent to a 1.226 million unit annual rate, the third-highest rate on record.
On Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors (search) said existing home sales fell 0.1 percent last month to a 6.75 million unit annual rate.
Freddie Mac said lenders charged an average of 0.6 percent in fees and points on 30- and 15-year mortgages and 0.7 percent on the ARM, all unchanged from last week.
Freddie Mac is a mortgage finance company chartered by Congress that buys mortgages from lenders and packages them into securities for investors or holds them in its own portfolio.