Interest rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages dipped to their lowest level in at least 37 years after the Federal Reserve this week reaffirmed its commitment to a program designed to loosen consumer lending, according to a closely watched weekly survey released yesterday.

The average rate fell to 5.19%, down from 5.47% the previous week and 6.14% at the same time last year, according to mortgage financier Freddie Mac, which polled lenders the first three days of this week. The rate is the lowest since the firm started tracking such data in April 1971.

For borrowers, that means the monthly principal and interest payment on a $200,000 mortgage at this rate is $1,097. That's $35 less than it was at last week's rate and $120 less than it was a year earlier. The previous low in Freddie Mac's survey was 5.21% in June 2003. In the 1960s, 30-year mortgage rates were generally between 6- 8%.

Washington Post