The 30-year rate was down from 3.90 percent in the previous week and near a record low of 3.87 percent, which it reached in February. It was below the rate of 4.78 percent in the same period in 2011.
Fixed mortgage rates held near record lows this week as the markets waited for the Federal Reserve's April 25th monetary policy announcement following two days of deliberations, said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. The Fed stated that it expects economic growth to remain moderate and then pick up gradually. In addition, it noted that labor market conditions have improved in recent months and it anticipates the unemployment rate will decline gradually.
The housing market has improved, with home prices declining less rapidly in the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index and new home sales beat forecasts in March. But the Fed warned that despite some signs of improvement, the housing sector still remains depressed, said Nothaft.
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.12 percent, down from 3.13 percent in the previous week and 3.97 percent in the previous year.
Five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 2.85 percent, up from 2.78 percent in the previous week and 3.51 percent in the past year.
One-year ARMs averaged 2.74 percent, down from 2.81 percent in the prior week and 3.15 percent in the same period last year.