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Interest rate hits record low

The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage hit a new record low at 3.22 percent, dropping below the previous record of 3.25 percent set back in November, Freddie Mac reported this week.

The 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage showed very little movement for the fourth straight week, rising just slightly from 4.5 percent last week to 4.51 percent. A year ago, it was 4.58 percent.

There was no change in the rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage from last week’s average of 3.69 percent.

Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft said there were “some signs of improvement in the housing market,” pointing to an 8.2-percent rise in the Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings. This is the first time since April 2010 that contract activity was above year-ago levels, and the monthly gain was the strongest increase since last November when the index rose 10.6 percent.

Locally, contract sales for May are way up from a year ago, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. In Nassau, contract sales for May rose 54 percent, from 504 last May to 778 this May. In Suffolk, contract sales rose 53 percent, from 572 last May to 875 this May.

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