WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate U.S. mortgages fell close to an all-time low in the week ending March 19, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. said.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.98 percent with an average 0.7 points in the week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.
The record low was set in January at 4.96 percent, Freddie Mac said.
A week ago, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.03 percent. A year ago, the average rate was 5.87 percent.
At 4.61 percent with an average 0.7 points, the 15-year, fixed-rate average also declined, dropping from the previous week's average of 4.64 percent. A year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.27 percent, the report said.
"Long-term mortgages followed bond yields lower for the second week as reports of slower industrial production suggested that business spending might ease this year," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
Long-term bond yields also dropped after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would buy $300 billion in Treasury bonds, Nothaft noted.
Yields fell about a half a percentage point, the sharpest one-day decline since Oct. 20, 1987, he said.