WASHINGTON (AP) - Fixed mortgage rates have fallen to historic new lows for a fourth straight week and are likely to fall further.
The average on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.01 percent this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. That's the lowest rate since the mortgage buyer began keeping records in 1971. The last time long-term rates were lower was in 1951, when most long-term home loans lasted just 20 or 25 years.
The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, ticked down to 3.28 percent. Economists say that's the lowest rate ever for the loan.
Mortgage rates tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The 10-year yield has risen this week to around 2 percent. A week ago, it touched 1.74 percent - the lowest level since the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis started keeping daily records in 1962. As recently as July, the 10-year yield exceeded 3 percent.
Rates on mortgages could fall further after the Federal Reserve announced last week that it would take further action to try to lower long-term rates.