: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages moved closer to their record lows this week, offering more incentive for consumers to buy homes and helping sustain a housing recovery.
THE NUMBERS: Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year loan rate slipped to 3.34 percent from 3.35 percent last week. That's near the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971. The average for the 15-year fixed mortgage ticked down to 2.64 percent from 2.65 percent. The record low is 2.63 percent.
HOUSING RECOVERY: Lower mortgage rates are a key reason why the housing market began to come back last year and many economists predict the recovery will strengthen in 2013.