October 15th, 2010 10:01 AM by Lehel S.
Mortgage interest rates continue their descent into record territory, with the 30-year fixed-rate loan dropping to an average of 4.19% this week from 4.27% a week earlier, according to the latest Freddie Mac survey of lender offering rates.
Fifteen-year fixed-rate loans fell from 3.72% to 3.62%, the giant home finance company said Thursday. The rates were being offered to low-risk borrowers who paid 0.8% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees on the 30-year loan and 0.7% on the 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 statistics on Federal Housing Administration loans. Most of the long-term mortgages back then were for 20 or 25 years, however.
Homeowners have taken notice. Applications for refinance jumped 21% last week to the strongest pace since mid-April 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Assn.
Freddie Mac, which wound up in government conservatorship when the industry melted down in 2008, asks lenders across the country about the rates they are offering to well-qualified borrowers who put down at least a 20% down payment or have equivalent equity in the homes if they are refinancing.