STEEP FALL: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell sharply this week, keeping home-buying and refinancing attractive.
THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.43 percent from 3.54 percent last week. That's near the record low of 3.31 percent. The average on the 15-year loan dipped to 2.65 percent from 2.74 percent, and just above the record 2.63 percent.
HOUSING RECOVERY: Low mortgage rates are helping sustain a housing recovery that began last year. Home sales and residential construction are up, prices are rising and more Americans are refinancing. That's helped the broader economy.