Mortgage rates at their lowest in last 20 months

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HARTFORD-- U.S. mortgage rates are continuing to decline, and are now at their lowest levels in more than 20 months. It's  good news for just about anyone looking to buy a home or refinance one they already own.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage declined to 3.59 percent from 3.66 percent last week. The average rate is at its lowest level since May 2013.

Experts are unsure just how long mortgage rates will stay this low, but refinancing a mortgage now could yield big savings.

Stacie King, of Kensington, could save $100,000 by refinancing from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage over the life of the loan.

"I thought I was good with a 4.75 %,  but if I can get down to the two's,  that's going to save me a boatload of money," King said.

Banks all over the state are reporting increased demand for re-financed home loans. The rate for the 15-year loan, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, eased to 2.92 percent from 2.98 percent last week.

Vin Biscoglio, a  mortgage banker for Envoy Mortgage in Berlin, is seeing a spike in the number of clients refinancing their mortgages.

"They're looking to pay off their homes sooner, and again, with the 15 year so low, they see that the interest rate is not going to increase that much over what they're paying now," Biscoglio said.

Camille Gagliardi, a financial adviser, recommends moving into the shorter loan period, but says not to re-start an existing 30 year mortgage.

"Even if your payment goes up a little bit, you're taking years of paying your mortgage away. If you can afford it, it's a huge savings," Gagliardi said.

Lower interest rates typically are meant to  boost the housing market.  Within the last year in Connecticut, the amount of single family homes sold remains flat.

Median sales prices for houses sold statewide in December dipped 0.8 percent to $245,000 from $247,000 a year earlier, according to the Connecticut Association of Realtors.

"We got a foot and a half of snow  and people are still out there looking to buy homes, and I really think they understand how important rates are low as they are," Biscolglio said.