Mortgage Rates: Another Record Low at 3.83 Pct.

By Bill McGuire

May 10, 2012 12:58pm

Another week and another record low for mortgage rates. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.83 percent in the week ended today, Freddie Mac said in a statement.

The average 15-year rate fell to 3.05 percent, another record low, from 3.07 percent.

These low mortgage rates haven’t done much to help the ailing housing market, however. Prices in many areas of the county are still one-third or more below the highs reached before the financial meltdown of 2008. Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors reported that prices for single-family houses were up in the first quarter in 74 of 146 metro areas, an encouraging sign.

Some 2.37 million homes were for sale at the end of March, 22 percent fewer than a year earlier, and home sales rose 5.3 percent in the first quarter.

The record-low rates are elusive for many Americans because of tighter lending standards and the fact that more than one in five homeowners owe more on their mortgages than what their properties are worth. That makes it impossible to refinance or sell without writing a check to the bank.

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