Mortgage rates eased a bit early this week, Freddie Mac said, with 30-year fixed loans available for solid borrowers at an average 3.51%, down from 3.56% last week.
The 15-year fixed loan edged down from an average 2.77% to 2.76%. Borrowers would have been dinged for an average 0.8% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees and discount points to obtain the rates, Freddie Mac said in its weekly report, issued Thursday.
Start rates for popular types of adjustable mortgages also fell slightly, according to Freddie Mac. The big housing finance company surveys lenders each week about the terms they are offering to borrowers who have good credit scores, 20% down payments or home equity, and the financial wherewithal to afford payments.
The average fixed rate for a 30-year loan bottomed out late last year at a record low of 3.31% as calculated by Freddie Mac. It has since risen to the 3.5% range, compared to 3.9% last year at this time, 5% for all of 2009 and 6% for all of 2008.
This week’s decline was influenced by the February consumer price index, said Freddie Mac’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft. The index held steady for the second month in a row, soothing concerns that inflation might set in and push rates higher.