US average mortgage rates fall; 30-year loan at 2.88%

U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages fell this week, pushing the key 30-year loan to a record low for the eighth time this year

WASHINGTON -- U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages fell this week, pushing the key 30-year loan to a record low for the eighth time this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year home loan dropped to 2.88% from 2.99% last week. It was the lowest level since Freddie started tracking rates in 1971. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.60% a year ago.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.44% from 2.51% last week.

Homebuying demand continues as one of few bright spots in the economy, with the recovery stagnating. But a key barrier for potential buyers is still the lack of available homes, especially for first-time purchases.