Mortgage Rates in the U.S. Drop for a Third Straight Week

Mortgage rates in the U.S. fell for a third week, keeping borrowing costs close to the record lows that have helped support a housing recovery.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.41 percent in the week ended today, down from 3.43 percent, McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac said in a statement. The average 15-year rate dropped to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent.

The housing market is a bright spot in the U.S. economy, which has seen only modest to moderate growth, the Federal Reserve said yesterday. Interest rates near record lows are spurring refinancing and purchases, while buyer competition for a thin supply of homes for sale bolsters prices.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of purchase applications climbed 3.9 percent in the week through April 12 to its highest level since May 2010. The refinancing gauge rose 5.2 percent, the Washington-based group said yesterday.

The average 30-year mortgage rate dropped to a record 3.31 percent in November, according to Freddie Mac. The 15-year rate fell to 2.63 percent, also the lowest on record.

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