WASHINGTON (AP) — Average rates on long-term mortgages continue to fall to new record lows, as the key 30-year loan dropped below 3% for the first time in 50 years. The stagnant economic recovery in the face of the coronavirus pandemic is keeping inflation tamped down despite pent-up homebuying demand.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year home loan fell this week to 2.98% from 3.03% last week. These are the lowest levels since Freddie Mac began tracking averages in 1971. The rate averaged 3.81% a year ago.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.48% from 2.51%, from last week.
In the latest negative economic signal, as new confirmed cases of the virus spike across much of the Sunbelt, threatening to weaken the recovery, the government reported that the number of laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits remained stuck at 1.3 million last week. The historically high level indicates that many businesses are still cutting jobs as the viral outbreak intensifies.