The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages inched down toward its record low this week, helping to keep home buying affordable.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.38% from 3.40% last week. It's slightly above the 3.31% rate reached in November, lowest on records dating to 1971.
The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 2.66%. The record low is 2.63%.
The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 3.66% in 2012, the lowest annual average in 65 years, according to Freddie Mac.
Cheaper mortgages are a key reason the housing market began to come back last year. Many economists predict the housing recovery will strengthen in 2013.