Mortgage interest rates dip to record lows

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By Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest level on record, giving consumers added incentive to lock in low payments for home purchases and refinanced loans.

The average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.69 percent, from 4.75 percent last week, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.

That's the lowest point since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971. The previous record of 4.71 percent was set in December. Rates for 15-year and five-year mortgages also hit lows.

Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months as nervous investors have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds. The demand for Treasurys has caused Treasury yields to fall. And mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term Treasurys.

Yet the falling rates have yet to spark a home-buying boom — or energize the economy. New-home sales collapsed in May after homebuying tax credits expired. The economy also remains under pressure from high unemployment. And many people don't qualify under tightened lending rules.