The big buyer and guarantor of mortgages said in the survey, released Thursday, that the average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage edged down to 2.66% from 2.67%. The shorter-term fixed loans have proved popular this year with homeowners refinancing to retire mortgages faster.
Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country Monday through early Wednesday each week to compile its averages. The 30-year rate set an all-time low of 3.31% in the Nov. 21 report.
The rates are for borrowers with good credit and 20% down payments who would pay minimal fees and discount points to lenders -- an average of 0.7% of the 30-year loan balance in the latest survey. Third-party costs often paid by borrowers, such as for title insurance and appraisals, are not included.
To stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve has been buying tens of billions of dollars in government securities and mortgage bonds each month, purchases designed to keep long-term interest rates low. The Fed said Wednesday that it would continue this practice until the nation’s unemployment rate drops below 6.5%, which it expects to occur in 2015.
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