The government reported Thursday that sales of new homes in the U.S. plunged by 8.1 percent in June, a sign that real estate continues to be a weak spot in the economy. Home sales had been improving through mid-2013, only to stumble over the past 12 months due to a mix of rising prices, higher mortgage rates and meager wage growth.
At 4.13 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year. Rates have fallen even though the Fed has been trimming its monthly bond purchases. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress last week that the purchases likely will end completely at the end of October.
But at the same time, Yellen said during congressional testimony that the Fed still sees the need to keep its benchmark short-term rate at a record low near zero to give the economy support.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.6 point, unchanged from last week. The fee for a 15-year mortgage rose to 0.6 point from 0.5 point last week.
The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage increased to 2.99 percent from 2.97 percent. The fee rose to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.
For a one-year ARM, the average rate was unchanged at 2.39 percent. The fee held at 0.4 point.