Homebuyers, homeowners and investors are witnessing the fifth straight week where 30-year mortgage rates average below 5%.  Rates dipped this week after rising a week earlier and remain just above record lows.

Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.82% this week from an average of 4.87% last week.  Rates have been below 5% for five consecutive weeks.

The all-time low of 4.78% was recorded on the week of April 2. Freddie Mac’s survey dates back to 1971.

Low rates have created a surge in refinancing activity, with nearly 80% of new home applications coming from borrowers seeking to refinance.  Freddie Mac’s sibling company, Fannie Mae, refinanced $77 billion in loans last month--nearly double February’s level and the best month for such activity since 2003, when the housing market was still surging.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, “The housing industry is starting to exhibit some positive signs.” But Nothaft noted in a statement that the signs were “scarce and too early to tell how permanent.”

Homebuilders are feeling a lot more optimistic that the worst housing downturn in decades may be finally starting to turn around. An index of builders’ confidence released Wednesday posted its biggest one-month jump in five years in April as many homebuyers seized on lower prices and incentives, and took advantage of lower interest rates and tax credits.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country.  Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.

For the most up-to-date mortgage and real estate information for the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.