Mortgage rates ease for first time in a month

Borrowers rush to beat FHA premium increases

Mortgage rates eased this week for the first time in a month, as signs of inflation remained subdued, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.8 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 21, down from 4.91 percent last week and 5.07 percent a year ago.

This year, rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans have ranged from 4.71 percent in early January to a high of 5.05 percent in February. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 4.17 percent during the week ending Nov. 11.

"Low inflation is keeping mortgage rates at bay," said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft in a statement. "The core consumer price index rose just 0.1 percent in March, below the market consensus forecast. The 12-month growth rate in core prices was 1.2 percent, which is also rather low by historical standards."