The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped for a 10th straight week, to the lowest on record, as the government began buying mortgage bonds to stimulate housing demand, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The average rate dropped 9 basis points from a week earlier, to 5.01%, Freddie said.

That figure was the lowest since the government-sponsored enterprise started keeping records in 1971.

The Federal Reserve Board started buying mortgage-backed securities this week as part of a $500 billion program to support real estate demand.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.