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Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 05/24/2012

30-year mortgage rate hits fourth straight record low

Mortgage rates held fairly steady this week, with the 30-year fixed rate average creeping slightly lower to yet another all-time record, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.


The 30-year slipped to yet another all-time low of 3.78 percent. (Ty Wright - BLOOMBERG)
The 30-year slid down from 3.79 percent last week to 3.78 percent, marking its fourth record low in as many weeks. This time last year, the average was much higher at 4.60 percent.

The 15-year average remained unchanged from its newly-set historic low of 3.04 percent, well off the pace from a year ago when it averaged 3.78 percent.

Adjustable-rate mortgages followed suit, with the 1-year ARM dropping from 2.78 percent to 2.75 percent and the 5-year ARM holding steady at 2.83 percent.

“Mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week with fixed-rate loans remaining at record lows and helping to drive homebuyer affordability,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “The National Association of Realtor’s Housing Affordability Index reached an all-time record high in the first quarter of this year since records began in 1970.”

The past two weeks have been chock full of uplifting news for the housing market. First, homebuilder confidence and new housing starts ticked higher in reports released last week, and in the past few days, existing and new home sales have showed significant improvement.

Nothaft also pointed out that the Federal Housing Finance Agency purchase-only house price index rose between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012, marking the first year-over-year increase since the beginning of 2007.

Related: New home sales increase 3.3 percent in April

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By  |  10:01 AM ET, 05/24/2012

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