Mortgage rates ease again to new 2011 low

Demand for purchase loans up slightly from year ago

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Rates on fixed-rate mortgages dropped slightly this week, hitting new lows for the year, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

While lower rates often trigger applications for refinancing, purchase loan demand also picked up last week and was slightly stronger a year ago, a separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed.

Freddie Mac’s survey showed rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.6 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 26, down from 4.61 percent last week and 4.84 percent a year ago.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 4.17 percent during the week ending Nov. 11, 2010, before climbing to a 2011 high of 5.05 percent in February.

Rates on 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.78 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 3.8 percent last week and 4.21 percent a year ago. Rates on 15-year mortgages hit an all-time low in records dating back to 1991 of 3.57 percent in November.