Mortgage rates

A pending sale in Miami. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images / April 29, 2013)

Mortgage rates slipped lower this week, with Freddie Mac saying lenders were offering the 30-year fixed-rate home loan at an average 4.1%, compared with 4.13% last week.

The average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage was 3.2%, down from last week’s 3.24%, Freddie Mac said in its weekly survey of lenders, released Thursday morning.

Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said the low rates should continue for the immediate future because the Federal Reserve this week decided to leave its economic stimulus program unchanged.

QUIZ: How well do you understand the Fed stimulus?

The Fed is buying $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage securities in an effort to keep long-term interest rates, including mortgage rates, at a low level.

Announcing its decision on Wednesday, the Fed said the jobs and economic picture was improving but that the recovery in the housing market has slowed in recent months and that unemployment remains elevated.

Freddie Mac polls lenders early each week about the terms they are offering to solid borrowers with 20% down payments or 20% equity in their homes if they are refinancing. The borrowers in the latest survey would have paid lenders 0.7% of the loan amount in fees and discount points.  

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