Mortgage rates drop for third straight week

Retail spending, consumer sentiment declines

Mortgage rates crept lower for the third straight week as reports showed weakness in retail spending and consumer sentiment.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.41 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 18, down from 3.43 percent last week and 3.9 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans hit a low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971 of 3.31 percent during the week ending Nov. 21, 2012.