A record low on average 30-year fixed mortgage: 3.29%

A record low on average 30-year fixed mortgage: 3.29%
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WASHINGTON — The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has hit a record low of 3.29%, driven down by investors shifting money into the safety of U.S. Treasurys as the viral outbreak deepens.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the benchmark 30-year loan this week tumbled from 3.45% last week. The new rate is the lowest level since Freddie Mac started tracking it in 1971, the company says.

The steep decline came in a week when the Federal Reserve made a surprise emergency cut in its benchmark interest rate to support the economy in the face of the spreading coronavirus. Investors seeking safety and anticipating further rate cuts by the Fed to address the crisis have poured money into Treasurys and other fixed-income securities that are perceived as safe havens. Long-term mortgage rates tend to closely track the yields on the 10-year Treasury note.

The World Health Organization has urged all countries to work to combat the virus. New figures show that there are now roughly 17 times as many new infections outside China as in it. To date, the virus has infected nearly 97,000 people and killed over 3,300.

The Associated Press

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