Rates on 30-year mortgages fell this week for the eighth time in the past nine weeks, hitting the lowest level in four months, according to an industry report.

Freddie Mac said Thursday its weekly nationwide survey showed that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.62 percent, down from 5.65 percent last week.

The latest decline pushed the 30-year mortgage to the lowest level since it dipped to 5.57 percent on Feb. 10, the low point so far this year.

The steady decline in rates helped spur sales of both new and existing homes to record levels in April, and analysts predicted further strong sales in May, based on further declines in rates.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, often used for refinancing, rates averaged 5.20 percent this week, down from 5.21 percent last week.

However, rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged up slightly to 4.26 percent, from 4.21 percent last week.

And rates on five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were at 5.10 percent, up from 5.07 percent last week. These hybrid mortgages have a fixed rate for five years and then adjust each year after that.

The nationwide averages for loan rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The 30-year, 15-year and one-year mortgages carried a nationwide average fee of 0.6 point, while the five-year ARM had an average fee of 0.5 point.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 6.28 percent, 15-year loans were at 5.63 percent and one-year ARMs averaged 3.98 percent. Freddie Mac does not have historical data on the five-year ARM, which it began tracking this year.

AWARDS . . . The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers named winners of its Housing Achievement Awards, sponsored by Freddie Mac. They include Clare Court, Homes for America (best project, Maryland); Tenant Empowerment Program, Housing Unlimited (best community life program, Maryland); Dupont Commons, Washington Interfaith Network/Enterprise Homes (best project, Washington); Edgewood Terrace, Community Preservation and Development Corp. (best community life program, Washington); the Woods at Victoria Park, Osprey Property Co. (best project, Northern Virginia); Buckman Road, Community Preservation and Development Corp. (best community life program); Community Preservation and Development Corp. (developer of the year); Magnet Housing Pilot Program, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (innovation award); Barbara Gilley (Virginia Peters nonprofit friend of the year award); and Fairfax County, Penny for Affordable Housing Legislation (president's choice award). The awards are to be presented at a Monday luncheon at the Bethesda North Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Rockville. For information or tickets, call 703-698-8151; Web site: www.handhousing.org.

Send realty announcements by e-mail to renotes@washpost.com, by fax to 202-334-5059 or by mail to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, Att: Business News/Real Estate Notes.