Economy

Who's Really Paying Those 'Historically Low' Interest Rates?

Lots has been made lately about historically low interest rates. In fact, Freddie Mac puts the average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage at 4.23 percent for October. That marks the lowest level since the company started tracking that number in 1971.

But who's actually landing those interest rates?

Nin-Hai Tseng over at Fortune reports that only about 15 percent of Americans are paying between 4 percent and 5 percent. Most Americans — 66 percent to be precise — are paying interest rates between 5 and 7 percent.

So what's the deal? Tseng writes:

"There's a lot of head scratching right now as to why people aren't refinancing," says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Amy Crew Cutts. "The applications are high but the closings are low."

Cutts points to various factors, including high unemployment, home values falling well below the balances of mortgages and stricter lending standards at many major banks.

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