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Rates drop on fixed-rate mortgages

Mortgage rates declined slightly last week.

Mortgage rates declined slightly last week.

The revved up real estate and moving market took a bit of a break last week, as 15-year and 30-year fixed rates declined slightly.

According to Freddie Mac's primary mortgage market survey, after topping out at 5.05 percent a week earlier, the average interest on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped back to 5 percent with an average 0.7 point during the week ending February 17.

The dip in mortgage rates is indicative to Frank Nothaft that the housing market is still trying to find its footing.

"The housing market is struggling to regain traction despite still historically low rates," said Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. "New construction on one-family homes dipped slightly in January to an annualized pace of 413,000 units, which was the fewest number since May 2009. In addition, homebuilder confidence didn't improve for the third consecutive month in February and remains near record lows."

The National Association of Home Builders determines builder confidence on a number scale. Any number below 50 indicates homebuilders view sales conditions as being poor. In February, builder confidence was 16.