US long-term mortgage rates recorded the biggest drop in nearly four years this week, but remain much higher than they were a year ago. (Photo: AP)
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Wednesday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.81 percent this week, down from 4.94 percent a week earlier. It was the biggest weekly drop since January 2015. But the 30-year rate was still up from 3.92 percent a year ago.
The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans fell to 4.24 percent from 4.36 percent a week ago. The rate stood at 3.32 percent a year ago.
A strong US economy has lifted rates over the past year. But Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater says rates were pushed lower this week by tumbling oil prices and stock prices.
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.
The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 0.4 point this week from 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year mortgages rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point last week.
The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages slid to 4.09 percent from 4.14 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.3 point.