US average mortgage rates go down slightly (May 6)

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Mortgage rates are down slightly this week, marking their third straight week below 3 percent, indicating the strength of the recovering economy.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average 30-year benchmark home loan rate fell to 2.96 percent from 2.98 percent last week. At that time, the long-term rate last year was 3.26 percent.

The interest rate on a 15-year loan, which is popular with refinancing seekers, fell from 2.31 percent last week to 2.30 percent.

Experts believe mortgage rates will rise slightly in the short term and will remain low given the Federal Reserve’s goal of keeping its policy rate near zero until the economy recovers from the pandemic.

After his meeting last week to set interest rates, Fed chairman Jerome Powell made it clear that the central bank is not even on the verge of retreating into its ultra-low interest rate policy. This is despite the rapid economic recovery, looming inflation and the country’s progress in tackling the virus pandemic.