(Reuters) - Borrowing costs on U.S. 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to their lowest levels since November 2016, in line with the recent decline in bond yields because of trade and recession fears, Freddie Mac said on Thursday.
Last week, the yields on 10-year Treasury notes briefly dipped below those on two-year notes US2US10=TWEB for first time in a dozen years. The “curve inversion” among these two debt maturities has often preceded prior U.S. recessions.
This market phenomenon touched off a fresh wave of buying in U.S. Treasuries, sending 30-year yields US30YT=RR to record lows.
The decline in mortgage rates is expected to help home sales and to stoke refinancing, putting more cash into consumers’ pockets, analysts said.
“The benefit of lower mortgage rates is not only shoring up home sales, but also providing support to homeowner balance sheets via higher monthly cash flow and steadily rising home equity,” Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Sam Khater said in a statement.
The interest rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 3.55% in the week ended Aug. 22, down from 3.60% a week earlier and 4.51% a year ago, the mortgage finance agency said.
The average 15-year mortgage rate decreased to 3.03% in the latest week, down from 3.05% the week before. It was 3.98% a year ago.
Interest rates on five-year adjustable-rate home loans averaged 3.32%, the lowest since November 2017.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski