WASHINGTON – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for a third straight week, approaching their low points for the year.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.10 percent from 4.14 percent last week. That brought the benchmark rate close to its 2017 low of 4.09 percent reached on Jan. 19. The 30-year rate stood at 3.59 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.
The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.36 percent from 3.39 percent last week.
The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate last month for only the third time since 2006, reflecting a consistently solid U.S. economy. Still, some economists don't expect higher interest rates to slow home sales until later this year.
Investors will be looking toward the jobs data for March, to be issued by the government Friday, for an indication of whether the economic strength is being sustained. With unemployment at a healthy 4.7 percent, the report is expected to show that employers added 178,000 jobs last month, according to a survey of economists by the data provider FactSet.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac 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.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged this week at 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year loans rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point last week.
Rates on adjustable five-year loans ticked up to 3.19 percent from 3.18 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.