Mortgage Rates Down? Greece, Portugal Might Explain Why

Interest rates dropped again last week as economists argued about the financial crisis in Europe and how bad it might get. As HousingWatch reported, Greece and Portugal's bad news could be the American homebuyers' gain.

But how does such faraway news directly affect the U.S.?

Average interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate home loans flew to 4.78 percent for the week ending May 27, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

Since December, writers like me have said over and over again that interest rates would rise. But here we are half-a-year later and interest rates are barely higher than the record 4.71 percent interest rate recorded last December - the lowest average interest rate recorded by Freddie Mac since it started keeping track in 1971.

What's going on?