The housing market may finally be getting some relief, with lower mortgage rates already encouraging refinancing and Treasury officials considering ways to entice new buyers.

Applications to refinance home-mortgages jumped by a record amount, as borrowers flocked to take advantage of falling mortgage rates -- which were driven down by the government's announcement that it would step in to stabilise the mortgage market.

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that it would buy $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae. Mortgage rates immediately dropped, and that led to a surge in mortgage refinancing activity for the week — even with the Thanksgiving holiday.

New York Times, Wall Street Journal