Sunday, April 7, 2013

Interest rates drop...Again

The rate of fixed mortgages in the U.S. dipped again last week, falling near record lows established last November.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan crept to 3.54 % from 3.57% nearing the 3.31 mark of five months ago, which was the lowest fixed rate recorded since Richard Nixon was in the White House and Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali in Madison Square Gardens almost 40 years ago in 1971.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage edged down to 2.74 % from 2.76 % last week nearing the record low of 2.63 % also reached in November.
Low mortgage rates combined with low home prices have contributed to a reluctant housing rebound more than six years after the housing bubble burst resulting in spiraling prices, foreclosures and a plethora of short sales. Home sales and construction are up, according to the Associated Press, prices are rising and more Americans are refinancing.
“The recent activity has strengthened national and regional economies as sales of previously owned homes in February reached the highest level in more than three years,” according to the AP.
Despite the low rates, fewer people than in the past can afford to buy homes. Some people are unable to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, either because they can't qualify for stricter lending rules or they lack the money for larger down payment requirements, according to the AP.
There also is concern that the limited number of available homes for sale could slow sales at the start of the spring buying season.
The low supply and increased sales have helped drive prices higher. Home prices rose 10.2 percent in February compared with a year earlier, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic.

Compiled by the Associated Press

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