Washington • Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell for the third straight week to their lowest point in three months, as a decline in consumer confidence and the onset of the government shutdown forced rates down.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 4.22 percent from 4.32 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.29 percent from 3.37 percent.
Both are the lowest averages since early July.
Rates began to fall last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond buys, which have kept rates low. They fell further this week as the shutdown prompted investors to sell stocks and buy Treasurys bonds. Mortgage rates tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note.