RATES PLUMMET: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages dropped this week to their lowest levels in four months, a positive sign for the housing recovery.
THE NUMBERS: Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average on the 30-year loan fell to 4.13 percent. That's down from 4.28 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.24 percent from 3.33 percent. Both averages are the lowest since June 20.
OUTLOOK: Mortgage rates have been falling since September, when the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases. The bond buys are intended to keep longer-term interest rates low, including mortgage rates. And a slowdown in hiring in September makes it more likely that the Fed will continue its stimulus into next year.