Interest rates for 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to new record lows, according to mortgage records from Freddie Mac, continuing a trend of rate drops that began late last year.
The government-sponsored enterprise's Primary Mortgage Market Survey indicates the average rates for a 30-year FRM fell to 3.79 percent from 3.83 percent a week earlier. Additionally, 15-year FRMs average 3.04 percent during the period - a minor drop from the week before.
"The European debt crisis overshadowed improving economic indicators for the U.S. and allowed Treasury bond yields and fixed mortgage rates to ease for another week," said the GSE's vice president and chief economist, Frank Nothaft.
The decreases in short- and long-term rates comes as the Commerce Department reported marked increases in housing starts during April, which could signal homebuyers are looking to enter the market this spring.
A report by the National Association of Realtors showed housing affordability reached its highest point ever during the first quarter. This may lead to improved market figures as 2012 progresses.