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Mortgage rates hit all-time low as foreclosure numbers spike

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By The Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates sank to the lowest level in decades this week, pushed down by the weak economy and the Federal Reserve's move to help lift the recovery by purchasing government debt.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate for 30-year fixed loans this week was 4.44 percent, down from 4.49 percent last week. That's the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed loan dropped to 3.92 percent, down from 3.95 percent last week and the lowest on record.

Rates have fallen since spring and the government's July jobs report has investors worried about the country slipping back into recession. They are shifting more money into the safety of Treasury bonds, lowering their yields. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields.

And the Federal Reserve is pushing those yields down even further. The central bank said Tuesday it would buy Treasurys to help aid the recovery, using the proceeds from debt and mortgage-backed securities it bought from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


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