Mortgage rates dropped for the third week in a row to their lowest point this year on signs of economic weakness, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.71 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 5, down from 4.78 percent last week and 5 percent a year ago.

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, 2010, and so far this year has ranged from 4.71 percent in early January to a high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.97 percent last week and 4.36 percent a year ago. That’s a new low for 2011, but well above the all-time low in records dating back to 1991 of 3.57 percent, set in November.

Rates on 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.51 percent last week and 3.97 percent a year ago. The 5-year ARM hit a low in records dating to 2005 of 3.25 percent in November.

Mortgage rates dropped for the third week in a row to their lowest point this year on signs of economic weakness, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.71 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 5, down from 4.78 percent last week and 5 percent a year ago.

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, 2010, and so far this year has ranged from 4.71 percent in early January to a high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.97 percent last week and 4.36 percent a year ago. That’s a new low for 2011, but well above the all-time low in records dating back to 1991 of 3.57 percent, set in November.

Rates on 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.51 percent last week and 3.97 percent a year ago. The 5-year ARM hit a low in records dating to 2005 of 3.25 percent in November.

Rates on 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 3.15 percent last week and 4.07 percent a year ago.

Looking back a week, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed demand for purchase loans remained well below last year’s levels.

The MBA’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey showed demand for purchase loans was up a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent during the week ending April 29 compared to a week ago, and down 36.9 percent from the same time a year ago. Requests for refinancing accounted for 62.7 percent of all applications.

In an April 14 forecast, MBA economists said they expect rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans will climb to an average of 5.6 percent during the final three months of the year, and average 6 percent in the final quarter of 2012.

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