Mortgage rates hit a two-month low, declining to 4.67 percent for 30-year fixed loans. That's down from 4.88 percent one week ago, according to Freddie Mac.[IMAGE] [COLUMN_BREAK]
The average 15-year loan was down to 3.97 percent off of 4.15 percent a week ago, and the drops are tracking a Treasury yields as Japan's nuclear crisis spurns demand for relatively safe investments.
Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell to their lowest level since December and stocks sank, reflecting concerns over the radiation risks from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, located 135 miles north of Tokyo. The declines are likely to lead to an increase in refinancing, according to Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates.
Mortgage applications fell 0.7 percent this past week, and housing starts plunged to a 22-month low for February. Construction permits were also in the basement with a record low, according to statistics from the Commerce Department.