Mortgage rates start year near record lows

Jan. 3, 2013 at 4:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Long-term U.S. mortgage rates started 2013 near record lows, promising a boost for "the ongoing housing recovery," the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said.

Freddie Mac said Thursday in a weekly tracking report the average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate fell from 3.35 percent to 3.34 percent with an average 0.7 points, Freddie Mac said.

One point is equal to one percent of the amount of the loan and is typically paid up front. It includes a corresponding discount on the loan's long-term interest rates.

Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate loans were at 3.91 percent at the start of 2012.

Interest rates for 15-year fixed rate loans fell from 2.65 percent to 2.64 percent with an average 0.7 points. The average rate for 15-year loans with fixed rates stood at 3.23 percent a year earlier.

"Mortgage rates started the year near record lows which should continue to aid the ongoing housing recovery," said Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist Frank Nothaft in a statement.

Recent data on new home sales and pending home sales contracts were both encouraging, Nothaft said.

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