Survey: Mortgage rates hit new low

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Mortgage rates began the new year the same way they ended the old -- by hitting a new low.
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.85 percent for the week ending Jan. 3, down from 5.93 percent in the previous week, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly nationwide survey of mortgage rates.
This week's rate was the lowest since the mortgage giant began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. The rate for this week and last week both surpassed the previous records in the survey of 5.94 percent set in the middle of November.
Records that reach back earlier than Freddie Mac's put this week's 30-year mortgage rate at the lowest level since the early 1960s.
15-year mortgages
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option or refinancing, fell this week to 5.24 percent, compared with 5.32 percent in the prior week.
For one-year adjustable rate mortgages, rates edged up slightly to 4.06 percent, compared to 4.01 percent the previous week.
Low mortgage rates over the past year have been fueling not only strong home sales but a surge of home mortgage refinancing activity. The extra monthly cash consumers are saving by refinancing their mortgages at lower interest rates is helping to support consumer spending, which has been the main force keeping the economy going this year.

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