(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Mortgage rates continue to hover near all-time lows as the spring home-buying season heats up, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.65 percent with an average 0.6 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.67 percent a week ago and 4.33 percent a year ago.

The 30-year fixed rate, which is at its lowest level since Feb. 5, has remained below 4 percent for more than 20 weeks, dating back to November. It hasn’t been above 5 percent for more than four years, and it hasn’t reached 6 percent this decade.


The 15-year fixed-rate average sank to 2.92 percent with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.94 percent a week ago and 3.39 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed rate hasn’t been above 3 percent since March 19.

[Wary homeowners offered new ways to finance their next move]

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages also fell. The five-year ARM average dropped to 2.84 percent with an average 0.4 point. It was 2.88 percent a week ago and 3.03 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average moved for the first time since March 12, a span of seven weeks. It edged down to 2.44 percent with an average 0.4 point, falling from 2.46 percent a week ago.

“Mortgage rates fell slightly … this week, positive news for potential homebuyers in the market this spring,” Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist, said in a statement.

“Purchase applications in 60 of the 100 markets that [Freddie Mac multi-indicator market index] tracks are up from the same time last year, including 20 markets that are showing double-digit increases. Reinforcing this positive momentum, existing home sales surged 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million units in March, the highest annual rate since September 2013. Housing inventory rose 5.3 percent to 2 million homes for sale, but unsold inventory was little changed at a 4.6 month supply.”

[Lenders offer new options for first-time and credit-challenged homebuyers]

Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers reported earlier that its mortgage application index also ticked up this week.

The market composite index, a measure of total loan application volume, increased 2.3 percent. The refinance index rose 1 percent, while the purchase index climbed 5 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 56 percent of all applications.

“Purchase applications increased for the fourth time in five weeks as we proceed further into the spring home buying season,” Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist, said in a statement.

“Despite mortgage rates below 4 percent, refinance activity increased less than 1 percent from the previous week.”

For more Real Estate news, follow @PostRealEstate and visit our Facebook page.