Less expensive mortgages could spur housing market

Drop to 3.97% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage could encourage home buyers

By Laura Kusisto | The Wall Street Journal

Mortgage rates dropped below 4% for the first time since November, providing more kindling to an already hot housing market as the crucial spring selling season gets under way.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.97% for the week ended April 20, from 4.08% a week earlier and 4.3% in mid-March, according to data released Thursday by mortgage company Freddie Mac.

The drop could help encourage buyers who had been put off by rising mortgage rates to dive into the market and prompt others to rush to buy homes before rates rise again.

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