WASHINGTON – U.S. long-term mortgage rates were flat this week, staying near record lows as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan remained at last week’s 2.73%. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.45% a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, ticked up to 2.21% from 2.20%.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to 779,000 last week, the government reported Thursday, a still-historically high total showing that a sizable number of people keep losing jobs to the coronavirus pandemic.
The damage from the pandemic to the U.S. and global economies suppressed mortgage rates through most of 2020.
Economists forecast modest increases in home-loan rates this year. But they likely will remain relatively low, with the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates near zero as needed until the economy recovers.