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Mortgage rates drop to lowest levels of year

Mortgage rates on the decline once again.

Mortgage rates on the decline once again.

Mortgage rates in the U.S. continued their downward trend last week, dropping to their lowest levels of the year.

According to Freddie Mac and its primary Mortgage Market Survey, the drop in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages from 4.78 percent two weeks ago to 4.71 percent for the week of May 5 matches the lowest rate that mortgage type has seen 2011. The last time it reached that number was the week of January 13.

While lower rates is positive news for moving families and future homeowners, they were likely pushed down due to negative economic factors, according to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac.

"Weaker economic data reports reduced treasury bond yields and allowed mortgage rates to drift lower for the third consecutive week," said Nothaft. "Real economic growth in the first quarter fell short of the market consensus forecast and represented the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2010."

The unemployment rate ticked up to 9 percent last month, but 244,000 jobs were added to payrolls, signaling growth may be in the offing.