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Fixed mortgage rates fall to new lows

Fixed mortgage rates fall to new lows

September 8th, 2011 in News

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fixed mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest levels in six decades. But few Americans can take advantage of the rates to refinance or buy a home.

The average rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.12 percent, down from 4.22 percent, Freddie Mac said Thursday. It's the lowest level on records dating back to 1971. And Freddie Mac says the last time rates were cheaper was 1951, when most long-term home loans lasted just 20 or 25 years.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, fell to 3.33 percent from 3.39 percent. That's the lowest on records dating to 1991 and likely the lowest ever, according to economists.

Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which fell to an all-time low this week. An uncertain outlook for the U.S. economy has led many investors to shift money out of stocks and into the safety of Treasurys, lowering the yield.