Home Buying

US mortgage rates have dropped to a record low yet again (Dec. 24)

'We expect rates to hold steady, but the key driver in the near term will be the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.'

The cheaper borrowing costs have fueled a housing rally that’s boosted the broader economy during the pandemic. Adobe Stock

Mortgage rates slipped to a record low for the 16th time this year.

The average for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 2.66 percent, down from 2.67 percent last week and the lowest in data going back nearly 50 years, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

The cheaper borrowing costs have fueled a housing rally that’s boosted the broader economy during the pandemic. But the real estate market cooled a bit in November, and with coronavirus cases surging, there is concern about how long the rally can last.

‘‘The housing market is poised to finish the year strong as low mortgage rates continue to fuel home buyer demand,’’ said Sam Khater, chief economist at Freddie Mac. ‘‘Moving into 2021, we expect rates to hold steady, but the key driver in the near term will be the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the execution of the vaccine.’’

Advertisement:

Mortgage rates, which started tumbling in March when the coronavirus roiled financial markets, have been below 3 percent since July. The lower rates, combined with the demand for more space to ride out the pandemic, have pushed buyers into the market. Current owners have also been able to save money by refinancing their loans.

A low inventory of homes to buy, combined with the surging demand, has driven up prices. That’s raised concerns that the housing boom will run out of steam, particularly if rates start to tick up.

New-home sales in the United States tumbled to a five-month low in November, dropping 11 percent in a sign the market is cooling off as coronavirus cases surge.

Sales of previously owned homes were also down last month, slipping for the first time in six months. That came as the median selling price jumped 14.6 percent, the fourth straight month of double-digit increases.

Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com