Mortgage rates fall back to record low in latest survey

House on pile of money

After briefly rising, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages have settled back down to their record lows, according to’s most recent survey of major lenders.

All of the popular types of loans we track remained at or near the new records set in February.

Of course, the cheaper your loan gets, the more house you can afford.

But no matter how low rates go, it's important to make sure when you're buying a home that you're not taking on more debt than you can reasonably be sure you'll be able to pay back.

That's why savvy home buyers know they should spend no more than 30% of their pretax income on housing costs.

Thirty percent is the maximum. You'll be in even better financial shape if you spend less.

We have a few other strategies you can follow to test how much house you can afford.

Our Feb. 29 survey found the average interest rate for a:

30-year, fixed-rate loan dropped this week from 4.16% to 4.10%. That's the low point this type of loan first hit on Feb. 15. Last year at this time, rates were 5.03%.

15-year, fixed-rate loan declined from 3.38% to 3.35%, close to the Feb. 1 record low of 3.34%. Last year, 15-year mortgage rates were 4.31%.

30-year, fixed-rate jumbo loan -- mortgages for more than $417,000 to $625,000, depending on the city -- fell to 4.63% from 4.65% last week. Jumbo rates first reached a historic low of 4.55% on Feb. 1. Last year at this time, jumbo rates were 5.60%.

5-year, adjustable-rate loan -- where the initial interest rate remains fixed for the first five years and then changes once a year -- sank to 3.04% from 3.12%. This type of loan reached a record 3.02% low on Feb. 1. They cost 3.85% in early spring 2011.

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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