Mortgage rates hit 50-year lows and it likely won't matter

The good news: Mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in more than 50 years.

The bad news: You need to have a job and impeccable credit to get them.

The average 30-year fixed loan rate tumbled to 4.69% this week, down from 4.75% last week, Freddie Mac reported. These are the lowest rates since the mortgage giant began keeping records in 1971 and the last time rates were lower was in the 1950s.

Nobody expects the falling rates to matter much. They aren't likely to snap the housing market back to life. And they aren't likely to benefit anyone who is unemployed, underemployed or who has had their credit rating dinged in the recession.Sales of new homes fell 33% after the federal tax credit incentives expired at the end of April and while existing home sales are still showing better numbers, experts say those numbers are being buoyed by the tax credit buyers still in the pipeline and trying to close escrow.

As long as prospective home buyers are worried about their financial well-being and job security, many will be reluctant to take the plunge, Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with Bankrate.com, told MSNBC.

The falling rates are tied to investors nervous about Europe's debt crisis and the global economy and who have shifted their money into safe Treasury bonds. Mortgage rates generally track Treasury bonds.

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