Interests rates down for the first time in four weeks

Mortgage interest rates dipped for the first time in a month, per the latest numbers from a Freddie Mac survey.

The enterprise found that lenders are offering 30-year fixed rate mortgages at an average of 3.75 percent, .05 percent lower than they were a week ago. In addition, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.03 percent, down from 3.07 percent. Buyers choose the latter option when they are looking to build equity more quickly, and reduce the amount of time that they are in debt.

Via Len Kiefer, the deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, the reduction in these figures is attributable to a decline in consumer prices and a downward revision of fourth-quarter growth numbers. Overall, rates remain very consumer-friendly, holding steady below 4 percent since late November, an historically low figure. 

It's important to note that while the survey reflects trends on the aggregate, individual lending numbers vary widely based on a variety of a criteria. These include state markets, institutional liquidity and the nature of the applicants. The LA Times delved into the last factor in greater detail.

"In addition to borrowers' credit histories and debt loads, the factors include whether the borrowers opt for zero-cost loans at higher rates or pay extra to lenders initially to lower the rates," explained the source.

No matter what the mortgage rates are, it's critical that banks and other lenders are able to effectively track their loans. An amortization calculator is a highly-worthwhile tool in this endeavor, as it can aid in both collecting and reporting accurately.