Thursday, April 19, 2012
The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stayed near its lowest level on record, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan rose to 3.90 percent from 3.88 percent. The rate touched 3.87 percent in February, which was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
The 30-year loan is the most common financing option for home buyers.
The 15-year mortgage, which is popular with those refinancing, rose to 3.13 percent from 3.11 percent, an all-time low.
Cheaper mortgages have done little to boost home sales. Americans bought fewer previously owned homes in March, a sober reminder that the housing market remains weak.
The National Association of Realtors says home sales fell 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million. That followed a revised 4.6 million sold in February.
A mild winter may have encouraged more people to buy earlier, essentially stealing sales from March.
January and February made up the best winter for sales in five years. The increase offered some encouragement ahead of the spring-buying season. Still, sales remain far below the 6 million per year that economists equate with healthy markets.
First-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery, rose to 33 percent of all purchases last month. In healthy markets, they make up at least 40 percent.