The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.23%, down from 3.3%. Start rates on adjustable mortgages also fell.
The borrowers would have paid less than 1% of the loan amount in upfront fees to the lenders, with 20% down payments or equivalent home equity in the case of refinance loans, Freddie Mac said.
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, said rates declined amid weaker homes sales and an S&P/Case Shiller survey showing home prices at their lowest level since December 2002.
Watchdog questions spending at Fannie, Freddie
Updated 3/22/2012 5:14 PM
- WASHINGTON – A U.S. government watchdog is questioning $600,000 that taxpayer-funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spent on an October convention, according to a report released Thursday.
The Fannie Mae headquarters is seen in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 8, 2011.
The Fannie Mae headquarters is seen in Washington,
The Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency says about half of the spending was "of questionable value."
Fannie and Freddie sent about 90 employees to the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention and Exposition at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago in early October. About $280,000 was spent on sponsorships and business meals.
FHFA, the government regulator overseeing the two firms, sent Fannie and Freddie a letter in December stating that all expenses be "consistent with the direction and goals" of the government conservatorship.
Taxpayers have spent more than $150 billion to rescue Fannie and Freddie, the most expensive bailout of the 2008 financial crisis.