mortgage

Mortgage rates for April 17, 2014

Mortgage rates have dropped for the second week in a row amid mixed economic news both abroad and in the United States. I'm Doug Whiteman with your weekly look at mortgage rates.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.43 percent down from 4.47 percent last week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage lost 4 basis points, landing at 3.48 percent. The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo fell to 4.43 percent, down 5 basis points. And the benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.32 percent from 3.34 percent.

But don't expect falling mortgage rates to become a trend.

As the U.S. economy strengthens, the Fed will likely continue to back off its bond-purchase program, which was created to keep rates low and stimulate the economy. Eventually, the Fed also will raise its benchmark federal funds rate, which has been near zero since the financial crisis in 2008.

At that point, mortgage rates will return to the more normal levels not yet experienced by a younger generation of first-time homebuyers.

Whether rates are rising or falling, it's always important to shop around. You can do that using the free search engine at Bankrate.com. I'm Doug Whiteman.

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