FRESH LOWS: Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell again to record lows this week, making home-buying and refinancing more attractive.

THE NUMBERS: The average rate on the 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.36 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The rate on the 15-year mortgage dipped to 2.69 percent, also a record low.

REFINANCING UP: Low rates are persuading more people to refinance, which could help the broader economy. Mortgage applications surged nearly 17 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Roughly 83 percent of those applications were to refinance existing loans.

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