Money Matters - Simplified

Mortgage rates lowest in decades

Mclean, Va. -- The 30- and 15-year fixed mortgages are at their lowest levels since Freddie Mac began tracking such rates, in 1971 and 1991, the government-backed firm said.

During the week, the average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages declined from 4.44 percent to 4.42 percent, compared to 5.12 percent a year ago, with points averaging 0.7, Freddie Mac said.

Rates for the average 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages fell from 3.95 percent to 3.9 percent, compared to 4.56 percent a year earlier, with an average 0.6 point.

For one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages, the average interest rate was unchanged from last week at 3.53 percent, with an average 0.7 point. A year ago the one-year ARM averaged 4.69 percent.

"The housing market appears to be in a lull following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credits. Single-family starts fell for the third straight month in July to an annual pace of 432,000 homes," said Amy Crews, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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