By Vicki Needham - 07/08/10 04:55 PM EDT
Mortgage rates fell for the second straight week to the lowest point in four decades, but it remains to be seen if the rate spurs home purchases.
Interest rates on 30-year fixed rate loans dropped to 4.57 percent, down from a record 4.58 percent set last week, the lowest in the 39 years Freddie Mac has been tracking rates. A year ago rates were 5.2 percent.
The housing market has slowed since the April 30 expiration of a federal tax credit and could remain sluggish throughout the summer.
The low rates have increased home refinancings during the past three months. Since the start of the second quarter, two out of three mortgage applications on average were for refinancing, according the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The effective mortgage rate of all outstanding loans was slightly below 6 percent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest since the series began in 1977, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis .
Rates on 15-year fixed rate loans increased to an average of 4.07 percent, up from 4.04 percent last week. That was the lowest recorded level since September 1991. The same time last year, the rate was 4.69 percent.