Mortgage rates sink to lowest level in more than five decades

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Mortgage rates have sunk to the lowest level in more than five decades, but consumers aren’t rushing to refinance their loans or buy homes. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.58 percent this week.

That’s down from the previous record of 4.69 percent set last week and the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

Rates have fallen over the past two months. Investors wary of the European debt crisis and the stock market have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds, driving down yields. Mortgage rates tend to track yields on long-term Treasurys.

Tighter lending standards have made it difficult for many borrowers to refinance. Many who do qualify have done so over the past 18 months.