WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for a fourth straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking a new low for the year.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.08 percent this week from 4.10 percent last week. That brought the rate under its previous 2017 low of 4.09 percent reached on Jan. 19. The 30-year rate stood at 3.58 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.
The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.34 percent from 3.36 percent last week.
U.S. jobs data issued by the government last week showed that employers added a net 98,000 jobs in March. But in the past three months, employers have added an average of 178,000 jobs a month. That is just slightly below the average monthly pace of hiring last year.
Some investors saw the data as an indication that the economy's strength may be ebbing as it continues to recover from the Great Recession. That dimming of investor confidence drove prices of long-term Treasury bonds higher over the past week. That pushed their yields lower. Bond yields move opposite to prices and influence long-term mortgage rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note tumbled to 2.24 percent Wednesday from 2.33 percent a week earlier. It rose to 2.26 percent Thursday morning.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged this week at 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year loans also remained at 0.5 point.
Rates on adjustable five-year loans eased to 3.18 percent from 3.19 percent last week. The fee held at 0.4 point.