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30-year mortgage rate drops to 4%, Freddie Mac says

November 3, 2011 |  7:58 am

Investor worries over the European debt crisis helped drive the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan down to 4% this week, according to Freddie Mac.

The figure, down from 4.1% last week, was the second lowest in the 40 years Freddie has been conducting a weekly survey of the terms being offered by home lenders. The lowest average rate recorded was 3.94% four weeks ago.

Freddie Mac said lenders were offering 15-year loans, a popular choice for homeowners who are refinancing, at an average rate of 3.31%, down from 3.38% a week earlier. That rate was below 3.3% for three weeks in late September and early October.

To obtain the loans at the rates being offered this week, a borrower would have to pay upfront fees averaging 0.7% of the amount borrowed.

Worried about the possibility of defaults on European debt, investors rushed to buy U.S. Treasury securities early this week, driving down interest rates.

The low mortgage rates have created an opportunity for some homeowners who are current on their loans to trade them in for new mortgages, often lowering their interest costs dramatically.


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— E. Scott Reckard

Photo: Foreclosures like this one in Miami clog the market with homes. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Image