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Mortgage Rates Hit Record Low

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: At the top of NPR's business news, a new low for mortgage rates.


MONTAGNE: It's cheaper than ever to finance a home. Mortgage rates have fallen below 4 percent, making the average 30-year, fixed-rate loan the lowest it's ever been. NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.

WENDY KAUFMAN: The 30-year, fixed-rate now averages just 3.94 percent. Rates have been low or extremely low for the past year. But as Celia Chen - a senior director at Moody's Analytics - notes, those low rates, low housing prices and affordability that's near an all-time high, haven't done much to boost very sluggish home sales.

CELIA CHEN: People don't have jobs, and without job opportunities, households are just not going to feel comfortable about purchasing homes. Income growth is also slow, and that's holding back demand. And then finally, it's still difficult to get a mortgage.

KAUFMAN: Credit standards are much tougher than they used to be. One more factor: Many would-be buyers may be fearing that home prices may go lower still. The 15-year, fixed-rate loan - a popular choice for homeowners wishing to refinance - also fell to a record low, 3.26 percent, though that figure doesn't include refinancing costs. Wendy Kaufman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Wendy Kaufman