Rates on 30-year mortgages remained almost flat this week as the Federal Reserve said it would keep rates near record lows to help the economy recover.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.98 percent this week, down slightly from 4.99 percent last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. Last year at this time, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.10 percent.
Rates are still above the record low of 4.71 percent set in early December. They've been held around 5 percent by a Federal Reserve program to pump $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to keep rates low and make home buying more affordable.
On Wednesday, the Fed said it still expects to end the program as scheduled on March 31. However, the central bank did say that it remains open to changing that timetable if necessary.
Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day, often in line with long-term Treasury bonds.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell slightly to 4.39 percent from 4.40 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.25 percent, down from 4.27 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 4.29 percent from 4.32 percent.
The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.6 point for 30-year, 15-year and five-year loans. It averaged 0.5 point for one-year loans.
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