The nationwide average for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell this week to the lowest level since late last year as fears lessened that the Federal Reserve will need to boost interest rates again.
Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that fixed-rate loans dropped to 8.04%, the lowest level since 30-year mortgages averaged 7.96% for the week ending Dec. 24. Long-term mortgage rates reached a five-year high of 8.64% in May.
Private economists predicted that the fall in long-term rates should hold for the rest of the year; some said rates could even dip below 8% before year's end.
"This is good news for families who have been on the fence trying to decide whether to make the plunge now and buy a home," said Frank Nothaft, an economist at Freddie Mac.
Nothaft predicted that 30-year rates should remain in a narrow range of about 8% to 8.25% for the rest of the year.