Get the record book out again: The typical rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage sank to an all-time low of 3.4 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac's survey of lender offering rates.

That was well under the previous record of 3.49 percent, set in July and again last week in the survey by the giant government-supported home finance company.

The typical rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage, 2.73 percent, also set a record low, as did the 2.71 percent start rate for loans that have a fixed rate for five years and then 25 years of adjustable payments.

In the news release announcing the latest weekly survey results, Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft said the decline was due largely to Federal Reserve purchases of mortgage securities, the central bank's latest attempt to fire up housing and stimulate the economy.

Freddie Mac asks lenders each week about the terms they are offering to people with solid credit and at least 20 percent down payments or 20 percent equity if they are refinancing.

The borrowers in the survey would have paid an average of 0.6 percent of the loan amount in upfront lender fees and points, Freddie Mac said. The survey does not include additional closing costs, such as for appraisals and title insurance.

Well-qualified borrowers who shop around can often find better rates than those in the survey, and many people pay additional upfront points to reduce their interest rates.



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