Long-term mortgage rates finally responded to a week of market-moving financial headlines, dipping below 6 percent.
According to Freddie Mac's weekly survey, the national average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan slid to 5.87 (with an average 0.5 point), which represents a significant decrease from last week's figure of 6.13 percent.
Rates on adjustable loans held steady, however, with the survey reporting an average of 5.15 (with 0.8 point) this week, compared to 5.14 last week.
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist, attributed mortgage rates' downward move to both positive and negative economic news, such as the Federal Reserve's decision to lower interest rates and reports of slowing retail sales.
The government also this week lifted capital requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which many expected to bring more stability to the mortgage market and thereby push interest rates for home loans down.