Mortgage rates hit new lows this week in response to the Federal Reserve's announcement that it will make big purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly rate survey. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.85 percent with an average of 0.7 point for the week ending March 26, down from 4.98 percent a week ago and 5.85 percent a year ago. The rate has never been lower since Freddie Mac began its survey in 1971. Compared to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage taken out at last year's high of 6.63 percent on July 24, the current rate represents savings of about $225 a month on a $200,000 loan, Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said. The survey tracks prime conventional conforming mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent. Borrowers making less than a 20 percent down payment, or seeking loans too large or risky for purchase or guarantee by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, can expect to pay higher rate...
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