Falling mortgage rates raise hopes for battered housing market

Mortgage rates have fallen to around their lowest levels in eight months, offering a potential boost to the housing market after a rough patch in recent months

By Ben Eisen and Laura Kusisto | The Wall Street Journal

Mortgage rates have fallen to around their lowest levels in eight months, offering a potential boost to the housing market after a rough patch in recent months.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.51%, matching the lowest level since last spring, according to data released Thursday by mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac . That rate is still higher than its level of 3.95% from a year ago but has fallen from a more-than-seven-year high of nearly 5% last fall.

The decline stands to give consumers another shot at obtaining low rates on loans to purchase or refinance their homes, if they can stomach volatile financial markets and still lofty home values.

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