Mortgage rates moved closer to historic lows this week, lender Freddie Mac said Thursday, on a combination of an improving housing market and fears that consumers are pulling back on spending.
The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.41 percent, down from last week's 3.43 percent. At this point last year, the rate averaged 3.9 percent. This is the third straight week of declines for fixed-rate mortgages.
The rate on a 15-year mortgage averaged 2.64 percent this week, down from 2.65 percent last week and 3.13 percent last year at this time.
Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement that weak consumer spending reports contributed to the decline. Retail sales fell for the second time in three months in March. And an index of consumer sentiment dropped this month to its lowest point since July.