Benchmark mortgage rate drops in U.S. housing market

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The mortgage rate decreased in the United States last week, the U.S. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, commonly known as Freddie Mac, said on Thursday.
For the week ending Thursday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) in the United States decreased to 3.57 percent from the previous week’s 3.65 percent.
The benchmark 30-year FRM was significantly lower than that in the previous year, when it averaged 4.9 percent.
Besides, Freddie Mac noted that the 15-year FRM edged down to 3.05 percent, compared with 3.14 percent for the previous week and 4.29 percent for the same period a year ago.
“Despite the economic slowdown due to weakening manufacturing and corporate investment, the consumer side of the economy remains on solid ground,” said Sam Khater, chief economist of Freddie Mac.
“The 55-year low in the unemployment rate combined with low mortgage rates has led to increased homebuyer demand this year. Much of this strength is coming from entry-level buyers, the first-time homebuyer share of the loans Freddie Mac purchased in 2019 is 46 percent, a two-decade high,” said Khater.
Freddie Mac is a corporation founded by U.S. Congress to promote the stability and affordability in the U.S. housing market by purchasing mortgages from banks and other loan makers. It has been conducting weekly surveys on U.S. mortgage rates since April 1971.
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