30-year mortgage rates set record low in mid-December survey

Three green houses on stacks of coins

Mortgage rates hit a record low again this week, even as one of the giant government-owned mortgage firms predicted home loans would remain exceptionally cheap through at least the middle of 2012.

Average rates for 30-year, fixed-rate loans fell to 4.19% this week from 4.24%, according to Interest.com's most recent survey of major lenders. That beats the previous record low set in October.

Freddie Mac, one of the big government-owned companies that provide most of the money for home loans in this country, said Wednesday the Federal Reserve's efforts to push down interest rates should last until the middle of next year, with "rates edging up during the second half."

Freddie Mac also predicted unemployment would decline slightly and the housing market would show modest improvement.

"While the headwinds remain strong going into 2012, there are indications the economy and the housing market are gaining ground, albeit slowly," said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. "All told, next year will be another bumpy ride."

Our Dec. 14 survey found the average interest rate for a:

30-year, fixed-rate jumbo loan rose slightly to 4.69% this week from its record low of 4.68% last week.

15-year, fixed-rate loan declined to 3.42% from 3.48%, tying a record low first set on Sept. 21.

5-year, adjustable-rate loan increased from 3.18% to 3.21%. Five-year ARMs declined to a record low of 3.05% on Sept. 21.

Our database of interest rates can help you find the best deals in your area, including many that are less costly than the national averages.

You can use our calculator to determine the monthly payments for the exact amount you want to borrow with this or any home loan.

It will also provide a month-by-month amortization schedule that shows how much you've reduced your debt and how much you still owe.

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