Low mortgage rates persist as 2019 nears end

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Mortgage rates ended the week little changed from the previous seven-day period and near historic lows for the year, according to Freddie Mac.

"The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate saw little change again this week and averaged just 3.9% during 2019, the fourth lowest annual average level since 1971 when Freddie Mac started its weekly survey," Sam Khater, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said in a press release.

"Heading into 2020, low mortgage rates and the improving economy will be the major drivers of the housing market with steady increases in home sales, construction and home prices. While the outlook for the housing market is bright, worsening housing affordability is no longer a coastal phenomenon and is spreading to many interior markets and it is a threat to the continued recovery in housing and the economy."

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.74% for the week ending Dec. 26, up just 1 basis point from the previous week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.55%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.19%, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.01%.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.45% with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.37%. A year ago at this time, the five-year adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4%.

Rates are expected to remain steady at an average of 3.8% for the 30-year fixed loan through the end of 2021.

"A more accommodative monetary policy stance and robust labor market helped the U.S. housing market regain its footing in 2019," Khater added.

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