File photo shows the headquarters of mortgage lender Freddie Mac in McLean
U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose slightly to 3.90 percent in the week ending April 19, mortgage financier Freddie Mac said Thursday. REUTERS

U.S. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to a new record low of 3.13 percent in the week ending March 8, according to Freddie Mac.

The 15-year mortgage, which Freddie Mac said was a popular choice for refinancing, was down from 3.17 percent in the previous week and 4.15 percent in the previous year.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.88 percent, down from 3.90 percent in the previous week and 4.88 percent in the same period in 2011.

With these historically low rates and declining house prices, the typical family had more than double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home in January, according to the National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index, which registered the highest reading since records began in 1970, said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, in a statement.

He added that the CoreLogic National Home Price Index fell for the sixth consective month in January to the lowest level since January 2003. This affordability contributed to a rise in mortgage applications for new home purchases in the two weeks ending March 2nd.

Five-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were down to 2.81 percent from 2.83 percent in the pervious week and 3.73 percent in the previous year. One-year ARMs averaged 2.73 percent, up from 2.72 precent in the previous week and 3.21 percent in the previous year.