US 30-yr mortgage rates drop in latest wk-Zillow

By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK, July 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Interest rates on 30-year
fixed-rate mortgages dropped in the latest week, reaching a
record low as investors piled into safe-haven U.S. government
debt, real estate website said on Tuesday, .

Lower interest rates on mortgages should lift home loan
refinancing activity, putting more cash into consumers’ hands
to funnel into the economy. They also make homes more
affordable as the housing market copes with the absence of
government support.

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages, the most widely
used loan, were 4.37 percent Tuesday afternoon, down from 4.49
percent at the same time last week.

The rate was the lowest recorded since Zillow Mortgage
Marketplace launched in April 2008 and was one point lower than
what the company reported on Monday. The 30-year fixed mortgage
rate peaked at 4.47 percent last Wednesday and then hovered
near 4.40 percent for the remainder of the week, Zillow said.

Fifteen-year fixed mortgage rates were at 3.89 percent,
down from 3.98 percent the prior week. Rates for 5/1
adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, set at a fixed rate for
five years and adjustable each following year, were 3.37
percent, down from 3.47 percent.

While low rates and high affordability helped the housing
market to gain ground over the past year, it has struggled
since the April 30 expiration of popular homebuyer tax

The Commerce Department on Tuesday said U.S. housing starts
in June hit their lowest level in eight months.

To take advantage of the tax credits, buyers had to sign
purchase contracts by April 30. Contracts originally had to
close by June 30, but that was extended another three months.

Mortgage rates are linked to yields on Treasuries and
yields on mortgage-backed securities. Yields move inversely to

Treasuries have seen strong demand in recent weeks as the
fiscal crisis in troubled euro zone countries and weak economic
data sent global investors into safe-haven U.S debt.

(Editing by Dan Grebler)

US 30-yr mortgage rates drop in latest wk-Zillow