RATES FALL: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages dipped again this week to the lowest levels on record, creating more incentive for buyers to enter the recovering housing market.

THE NUMBERS: The rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.53 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says. That's the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The rate on the 15-year mortgage declined to 2.83 percent, also a record.

OUTLOOK: Cheaper mortgages have contributed to a modest housing recovery. Home sales fell in June but were up from the same month last year. Home prices are rising in most markets.