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By Leslie Cook
April 30, 2020
Getty Images

The coronavirus continues to have the U.S. economy in a stranglehold. But those looking to buy a home or refinance an existing mortgage got some good news Thursday. Mortgage rates hit a new all-time low.

The average interest rate for a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage hit 3.23%, with 0.7 points paid, for the week ending April 30, according to Freddie Mac. That’s down 0.10 percentage points from 3.33% last week and a hair below the previous all-time low of 3.29% set earlier this year in March.

The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages matched its March low of 2.77%. Interest rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 3.14% from 3.28%.

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Interest rates have decreased sharply since the beginning of the year, as fears of the coronavirus have sent investors rushing to purchase safe-haven assets like Treasury bonds, and the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to close to zero. Mortgage rates are largely pegged to 10-year Treasury bonds.

While most mortgage activity has centered around refinancing, Freddie Mac credits the low rates with improving home purchase activity in recent weeks. Some of the states hardest hit by the virus, such as California and New York, saw recent increases in home purchase activity after weeks of decline.

Nationally, applications for home purchase loans increased 12% for the week ended April 24, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The increase in purchase activity could be a signal of an upturn in the spring buying season, which has been delayed by the spread of COVID-19, the trade group said.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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