McLEAN, Virginia (AP) – Mortgage rates fell for the third straight week and fell below 3% for the first time in two months.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the prime rate on 30-year home loans fell from 3.04% last week to 2.97% this week. At that point, the long-term rate last year was 3.33%.
The interest rate on a 15-year loan, which is popular with those interested in refinancing, fell from 2.35% the week before to 2.29%.
Experts have expected home loan rates to rise slightly in the short term, while remaining low given the Federal Reserve’s goal of keeping its policy rate near zero until the economy recovers from the pandemic.
Even at historically low rates, buyers have a hard time snapping up homes because there are so few for sale.
Another report by the National Association of Realtors on Thursday showed that inventory home sales fell for the second straight year in March because there are so few in the market. The coronavirus pandemic has fueled demand for single family homes as people look for more space.
On the positive side, the Department of Labor reported Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to 547,000 in the past week. This is the lowest point since the pandemic started and an encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing due to an improving labor market.
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