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It is now the cheapest it’s been since the 1970s to take out a mortgage in the United States, according to Freddie Mac.

The mortgage giant’s weekly survey of rates found that the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 2.98 percent over the last seven days. It’s the lowest rate in the survey’s history dating back to 1971 and even lower than substantial drops seen earlier this spring which sent applications for refinancings and purchase mortgages soaring.

“Mortgage rates fell below 3 percent for the first time in 50 years. The drop has led to increased homebuyer demand and, these low rates have been capitalized into asset prices in support of the financial markets,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement. “However, the countervailing force for the economy has been the rise in new virus cases which has caused the economic recovery to stagnate, and this economic pause puts many temporary layoffs at risk of ossifying into permanent job losses.”

A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.81 percent; a week ago it was 3.03 percent.

Mortgage Bankers Association weekly surveys show continued demand for purchase mortgages and for refis as rates stay at rock-bottom.

Mortgage Rates Below 3 Percent for First Time in 50 Years

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min