Rates fell to 3.94% in the past week, down from 4.01%, Freddie Mac said. That's the lowest rate since Freddie Mac began keeping records in 1971.
Rates on 15-year mortgages edged lower to 3.26% from 3.28%.
"There's nothing to gloat over," at BMO Capital Markets senior economist Sal Guatieri told Bloomberg. "The record low interest rates are a reflection of the times. The U.S. economy is fragile and the global economic headwinds remain brisk." A strict credit market, stubbornly high unemployment, Europe's debt crisis and concerns that the U.S. may fall into a double-dip recession all continue to weigh on the economy.
Data released Wednesday showed that mortgage loan application volume fell 4.3% last week from a week earlier, despite the low rates, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Low rates did not even spur a great number of current homeowners to refinance; the refinance index tumbled 5.2% from the previous week, and the refinance share of all mortgage activity fell to 79.1%, from 79.7% in the previous week. The MBAA's purchase index fell 1.7% last week and remained 12.1% lower from the year-earlier week.