Mortgage rates are lowest since 2013

Lenders offered a 30-year fixed loan at 3.63% this week, down from 3.66% a week earlier, Freddie Mac said

Mortgage rates declined for the third straight week, with lenders on average offering 3.63% on a 30-year fixed loan, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

The mortgage finance giant said that this week's rate for a 30-year mortgage fell from 3.66% last week and 4.39% a year earlier. Lenders offered a 15-year fixed loan at an average of 2.93%, compared to 2.98% last week and 3.44% last year.

Concerns over Asian and European economies have driven rates down to their lowest levels since May 2013.

The steady decline has spurred a resurgence in mortgage applications as borrowers look to lock in the historically low rates. The Mortgage Bankers Assn. said Wednesday that applications to refinance climbed 22% last week from a week earlier, while loan applications to purchase homes dipped 3%.

A week earlier, both refinances and purchase loans soared.

Freddie Mac's survey asks lenders about the terms they offer low-risk borrowers on loans up to $417,000.

Actual rates are influenced by many factors, including a borrower's debt load and credit history.

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