US mortgage rates fall to new lows; 30-year loan at 2.72%
Washington – Long-term mortgage rates in the United States fell this week, hitting record lows for the 13th time this year amid further signs of weakness in the pandemic-ravaged economy.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average 30-year benchmark loan rate fell to 2.72% from 2.84% last week. In contrast, the rate was on average 3.66% a year ago.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.28% from 2.34%.
Mortgage rates have trended downward for most of this year, bolstering demand from potential buyers.
New signs have emerged this week that the resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak is likely slowing the economy and forcing more companies to cut jobs.
The government said on Tuesday that retail sales in the United States – accounting for about a third of overall consumer spending – rose 0.3% in October, even as retailers offered early discounts for holidays online and in shops.
And a report Thursday from the Department of Labor showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment assistance rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks. The worsening of the pandemic and the onset of cold weather could accelerate layoffs in the coming weeks.
Of the roughly 20 million Americans who currently receive some form of unemployment benefit, about half will lose that help when two federal programs expire at the end of the year.