Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year home loan fell this week to 2.98% from 3.03% last week. These are the lowest levels since Freddie Mac began tracking averages in 1971. The rate averaged 3.81% a year ago.
The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage declined to 2.48% from 2.51%, from last week. In the latest negative economic signal, as new confirmed cases of the virus spike across much of the Sunbelt, threatening to weaken the recovery, the government reported that the number of laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits remained stuck at 1.3 million last week. The historically high level indicates that many businesses are still cutting jobs as the viral outbreak intensifies.