Mortgage interest rates continued their descent into record territory this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate loan dropping to an average of 4.19% from 4.27% last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans fell to 3.62% from 3.72%, according to the giant home finance company's weekly survey of rates offered by lenders to low-risk borrowers.
The latest averages are the lowest recorded by the survey, which began tracking 30-year rates in 1971 and 15-year rates in 1991.
To get the offered rates, borrowers this week were being required to pay upfront lender fees averaging 0.8% of the loan amount on a 30-year loan and 0.7% on a 15-year mortgage.
The last time average rates on popular long-term fixed-rate mortgages were this low was April 1951, Freddie Mac noted, citing a compilation of historical data on Federal Housing Administration loans. Most long-term mortgages back then, however, were for 20 or 25 years.
Homeowners have taken notice. Applications to refinance homes jumped 21% last week to the fastest pace since April 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Assn.
Freddie Mac's survey asks lenders nationwide to report the rates they are offering to well-qualified borrowers who put down at least a 20% down payment or who have that much equity in the homes if they are refinancing.