Mortgage rates fall for a second week, Freddie Mac says

Mortgage rates fell this week, with lenders offering a 30-year fixed loan at an average of 3.69%, down from 3.78% a week ago, Freddie Mac said.

The mortgage giant’s weekly survey, released Thursday, showed the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.97% from 3.06% last week.

The initial rate on loans fixed for five years before adjusting dropped to 2.92%.

Low rates could spur more home sales during the spring buying season. It’s too early to tell if cheaper borrowing costs and recent robust job growth will ignite a housing market that has slowed in the last year.

Southern California home sales dropped in February. And the volume of previously owned homes sold nationally remained sluggish.

Still, Freddie Mac economist Len Kiefer said lower rates are “a welcome sign” for prospective home buyers. A year ago the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan was 4.40%.

Freddie Mac’s survey asks lenders each week about the terms they offer low-risk borrowers on loans up to $417,000.

Actual rates are influenced by many factors, including a borrower’s debt load and credit history.

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