Long-term mortgage rates dip; 30-year at 3-year low of 3.49%

In this Sept. 3, 2019 photo a sign rests in front of a newly constructed home, in Westwood, Mass. On Thursday, Sept. 5, Freddie Mac reports on this week’s average U.S. mortgage rates.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the average on the key 30-year loan reaching its lowest point in nearly three years.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year mortgage declined to 3.49% from 3.58% last week. The average rate hasn't been that low since October 2016. A year ago, it stood at 4.54%.

The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped to 3% from 3.06% last week.

Mortgage rates have fallen sharply as a slowing global economy and tensions from the trade war between the US and China have caused interest rates on government bonds to tumble. The yields on government bonds influence long-term mortgage rates.

Lower mortgage rates should help homebuyers, but low inventories and high prices that have consistently eclipsed wage growth have restrained sales growth.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged this week at 0.5 point.

The average fee for the 15-year mortgage rose to 0.6 point from 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged down to 3.30% from 3.31% last week. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

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