Mortgages rates have wandered downward again, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
As the spring home buying season heats up, mortgage rates are doing their part to encourage activity.
The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 4.27 percent with an average 0.7 point, its lowest level since Feb. 6. It was 4.34 percent a week ago and 3.41 percent a year ago. It was the second decline in as many weeks.
The 15-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.33 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 3.38 percent a week ago and 2.64 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate is at its lowest level since March 20.
Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average 3.03 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.09 percent a week ago and 2.6 percent a year ago.
The one-year ARM average edged up to 2.44 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 2.41 percent a week ago and 2.63 percent a year ago.
“Mortgage rates continued to ease this week as housing starts rose 2.8 percent in March but not as much as expected,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement.
“Also, permits fell 2.4 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000, which followed a slight downward revision of 4,000 permits in February.”
Meanwhile, falling mortgage rates have led to an increase in mortgage applications, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, rose 4.3 percent. The Refinance index grew 7 percent, while the Purchase Index increased 1 percent.
The refinance share of mortgage activity showed its first gain in nine weeks, accounting for 52 percent of all applications, up from 51 percent the week before.