For the second consecutive week, fixed-mortgage rates eased, offering homebuyers a slight bump in affordability in the midst of the spring home-buying season, Freddie Mac announced in its weekly mortgage market report.
"Mortgage rates continued to ease this week as housing starts rose 2.8 percent in March but not as much as expected," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.
Nothaft noted that building permits fell 2.4 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 990,000, which followed a slight downward revision of 4,000 permits in February.
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending April 17:
30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.27 percent, dropping from last week's 4.34 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.41 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.33 percent, dropping from last week's 3.38 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.64 percent.
5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.03 percent, dropping from last week's 3.09 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.60 percent.
1-year ARMs: averaged 2.44 percent, rising from last week's 2.41 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.63 percent.