LOW RATES: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages crept closer to their historic lows this week, a trend that could help the housing recovery strengthen.
THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage edged down to 3.54 percent from 3.57 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average on the 15-year loan declined to 2.74 percent from 2.76 percent last week.
HOUSING REBOUND: Low mortgage rates have contributed to a housing rebound more than six years after the bubble burst. Home sales and construction are up, prices are rising and more Americans are refinancing. That's helped the broader economy.