Interest rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.78 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac. That’s down from an average 4.85 percent last week.

That’s the lowest rate since 1971, when Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage interest rates on a weekly basis.

Here are some other average rates from Freddie Mac:

  • 15-year fixed rate mortgages – 4.52 percent average this week, down from 4.58 percent
  • 5-year hybrid Treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) – 4.92 percent, down from 4.96 percent
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARMs – 4.75 percent, down from 4.85 percent

All three of these averages are the lowest they’ve been since Freddie Mac began tracking them.

“Mortgage rates followed other interest rates lower this week amid reports of slower economic growth,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “The final estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter was revised lower and personal incomes fell 0.2 percent in February, below the market consensus.

“On a positive note, pending existing home sales rose 2.1 percent in February, marking the second increase in three months as potential home buyers are taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates and falling home prices. Serving as a spur to sales, housing affordability reached an all-time high in February 2009 since the series’ inception in 1971, according to the National Association of Realtors®. By region, sales surged by nearly a third in the Northeast and Midwest, but fell in the West.”

Last year at this time the rates for all four of these types of mortgage loans exceeded 5 percent, with the 30-year fixed rate mortgage having the highest average at 5.88 percent.

April 2, 2009