The average U.S. rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were approaching their record lows last week, slipping to 3.34 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. That is close to the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, which was the lowest on record since 1971. The average on a 15-year fixed mortgage was 2.64 percent. This trend has made home buying more affordable, and has encouraged what now appears to be a sustained housing recovery. These lower rates have also encouraged people to refinance their existing mortgages, which in turn lowers monthly payments and allows for more consumer spending. There is also a shortage in the housing supply; the number of homes for sale at the end of November was just above record lows in 1963. This has driven home prices up, and combined with record-low mortgage rates has caused potential buyers to enter the market before prices rise further. It has also driven demand for new construction, which has increased builder confidence. To read the full story visit Yahoo News.