NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Mortgage rates continued to ease this week as housing starts reached record levels in August, according to a report released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
"Our Primary Mortgage Market Survey results this week show mortgage rates slipping again, which will all but guarantee that the housing industry will continue at its robust pace and set yet again, another record for both new construction and overall home sales," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.
The rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.7 percent in the week ended Sept. 23, with an average 0.7 point payable up front, down from last week when it averaged 5.75 percent, the mortgage financier Freddie Mac reports.
A year earlier, the rate on the 30-year fixed-rate loan averaged 6.01 percent.
The 15-year mortgage rate dropped to a 5.1 percent average this week from 5.13 percent last week, with 0.7 point payable up front. Last year, the average rate stood at 5.3 percent.
One-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 4 percent, down from 4.03 percent last week, with 0.7 of a point payable up front. At this time last year, the average rate for ARMs was 3.81 percent.
"This new millennium has proven to be very homeowner friendly. For instance, in the last four years we have set records in housing starts, housing sales, low mortgage rates, refinancing volumes and total mortgage originations," added Nothaft.
"As a matter of fact, low mortgage rates in August led to housing starts in that month that were the second highest in over two decades."
Freddie Mac's (FRE: down $2.12 to $64.28, Research, Estimates) average mortgage rates are based on a survey of 125 lenders nationwide.