Rates for most mortgages tracked by Freddie Mac hit record lows this week, as investors in mortgage-backed securities who fund home loans were reassured by signs that inflation remains at bay.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.27 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending Oct. 7, down from 4.32 percent last week and 4.87 percent a year ago.

That’s a low in records dating back to 1971, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey today.

Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also hit a new low this week in records dating to 1991, averaging 3.72 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.75 percent last week and 4.33 percent a year ago.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.52 percent last week and 4.35 percent a year ago. That’s a new low in records dating to 2005.

Rates on 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.4 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.48 percent last week and 4.53 percent a year ago.

"The 12-month growth rate in the core price index for personal consumption, which the Federal Reserve closely tracks, has been drifting lower over the past six months ending in August and suggests inflation is running at a tepid pace at best," said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft. "This allowed mortgage rates to ease to new or near record lows this week."

Freddie Mac’s rate survey tracks prime conventional conforming mortgages with a 20 percent downpayment. Borrowers with blemished credit will pay higher rates, as will those seeking to make smaller downpayments or who don’t meet Freddie Mac’s underwriting standards.

Borrowers seeking "jumbo" loans larger than those Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are allowed to purchase or guarantee typically pay more than borrowers taking out mortgages within Fannie and Freddie’s conforming loan limit, which is $417,000 in most markets and up to $729,750 in high-cost markets through Sept. 30, 2011.

Most Americans have credit scores that are too low for them to qualify for the best rates on a mortgage, and nearly one in three are unlikely to get a loan on any terms, according a recent analysis by Zillow.

Applications for purchase loans jumped a seasonally adjusted 9.3 percent during the week ending Oct. 1, possibly driven by homebuyers rushing to beat new FHA credit score and downpayment requirements that took effect Oct. 4, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

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