(Freddie Mac)

Fixed mortgage rates recorded their fifth week of declines last week, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

May 29 mortgage rate chart

The 30-year fixed-rate average dropped to 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point, falling to its lowest level since late October. It was 4.14 percent a week ago and 3.81 percent a year ago. Since starting the year at 4.53 percent, the 30-year fixed rate has plummeted 41 basis points.

The 15-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.21 percent with an average 0.5 point, dropping to its lowest point in seven months. It was 3.25 percent a week ago and 2.98 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate has sunk 34 basis points since the first of the year.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages held steady for the most part. The five-year ARM average was unchanged at 2.96 percent, with an average 0.3 point, only the second time this year it has been below 3 percent. It was 2.66 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average slid to 2.41 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.43 percent a week ago.

“Fixed mortgage rates eased a bit for the fifth consecutive week as reports that existing home sales are up 1.3 percent but not as much as expected,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “However, new home sales rose 6.4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, which followed an upward revision of 11,000 units for the prior two months.”

Also, Nothaft said, “as the spring home buying season continues, we see stronger consumer confidence as house prices remain on the rise. The Conference Board reported that confidence among consumers rose in May after dipping in April. Meanwhile, the [Standard & Poor’s]/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index rose 0.9 percent in March, above the consensus forecast.”

Despite the rates’ downward trend, mortgage applications declined for the first time in three weeks, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, fell 1.2 percent. The refinance index and purchase index each dropped 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity held steady, accounting for 52 percent of all applications.

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