WASHINGTON (December 13, 2012)--Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week near record lows, providing more incentive for Americans to buy homes and refinance, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday.
Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.32 percent, below last week's rate of 3.34 percent and just above the 3.31 percent, the lowest rate on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage declined to 2.66 percent from 2.67 percent last week.
The record low is 2.63 percent.
The rate on the 30-year loan has remained below 4 percent all year.
Low rates have spurred home sales and helped spark a modest housing recovery.
They have also led more people to refinance, which typically lowers monthly mortgage payments and boosts consumer spending.