Mortgage interest rates finished out the year near record lows, helping fuel the housing market’s modest recovery.
The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.35%, down slightly from 3.37%, Freddie Mac said in its weekly survey. This week’s rate is close to the 3.31% rate hit earlier this year, the lowest since records begin in 1971.
The 15-year fixed rate mortgage, popular with homeowners looking to refinance, averaged 2.65% this week, unchanged from last.
“Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were nearly 0.6 percentage points below that of the beginning of the year, which translates into an interest payment savings of nearly $98,600 over the life of a $200,000 loan,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, said in a statement. “Moreover, opting for a 15-year fixed mortgage at today's rates, a homeowner could save an additional $138,400 in interest payments."
The survey is based on questions that mortgage giant Freddie Mac asks lenders each week across the nation about the rates they are offering borrowers with solid credit and are either putting 20% down or have at least 20% equity in their homes if they are refinancing.