Mortgage rates were little changed this week on mixed news for housing, with Freddie Mac saying the average rate for 30-year conventional loans was 3.84%, compared with 3.85% a week ago.
Lenders were offering 15-year fixed loans at an average of 3.05%, down from 3.07%, according to Freddie Mac, which releases its survey results each Thursday morning.
The latest report showed rates also down slightly on loans that become adjustable after five years at a fixed rate.
Housing starts surged in April, and a survey found that builders remain optimistic, Freddie Mac economist Len Kiefer said.
But a real-estate trade group said Thursday that sales of previously owned homes fell in April due to a supply shortage.
Analysts said the effects will hit hard in Southern California's expensive markets.
Southland home prices and sales rose in April for the second straight month, but a dwindling supply of homes for sale meant buyers face challenges in finding homes they can afford.
Freddie Mac asks lenders early each week about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers seeking mortgages up to $417,000 that conform to guidelines set by Freddie and Fannie Mae, the other mortgage finance giant.
The borrowers would have paid a little more than half of 1% of the loan balance in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain the loans.
Not included are such expenses as appraisals, title insurance and mortgage insurance, which often is required for loans with down payments under 20%.
The survey provides a consistent gauge of mortgage trends, but actual rates may change rapidly and are influenced by many factors, including borrowers’ credit scores, debt loads and down payments.
@ScottReckard writes frequently about banks and home loans