Mortgage rates fall for 4th straight week; 15-year at record low

U.S. mortgage rates fell for a fourth consecutive week and the average rate for a 15-year loan hit a new record low, the latest survey of lenders shows.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.40%, down from 3.41% last week, according to Freddie Mac. The average 15-year rate declined to 2.61% from 2.64%.

The typical rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bottomed out last fall at 3.31%. Freddie Mac asks lenders each week what terms they are offering to well-qualified borrowers.

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Low mortgage rates have helped spur more home buying, and prices have risen as purchasers vie for a limited supply of inventory.

The market for new homes has also picked up. The median price for new homes sold in Southern California jumped 19% year-over-year to $401,000 in February, according to real estate firm DataQuick.

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