If you’re in the market for a new home now may be the time to make an investment. Data released today shows that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in the United States have reached their lowest levels in the past four months.

Results released today by Freddie Mac showed that mortgage rates on 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.71% for the week ending May 5, 2011, which is down from its 4.78% average from the previous week. In comparison, the rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages last year at this time stood at 5.00%.

News of lowered mortgage rates could be a sign of a strengthening housing market. Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that new home sales have been on the upward bound and increased 11.1% in March from the previous month to an adjusted annual rate of 301,000.

The median sales price for new homes sold in March stood at $213,800, while the average sale price was $246,800.

Consumers More Confident in the Housing Market:

Whether or not the housing market is truly making a full and permanent rebound is still left to be seen, though American consumers have their own beliefs about its strength. Some 69% of American consumers believe that it’s a good time to purchase a home, according to recent poll results released by Gallup. Meanwhile, pending home sales also saw gains in the month of March, rising to 94.1% in that month from its rate of 89.5% in February, according to date released by the National Association of Realtors last week.

Learn: “It’s a Buyer’s Market” Say Consumers on U.S. Housing Industry

At the time, NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun expressed his optimism about the pending home sale gains.

“Based on the current uptrend with very favorable affordability conditions, rising apartment rents and ongoing job creation, existing-home sales should rise around 5 to 10 percent this year with sales growth of lower priced homes likely to outperform high-end homes. That means the price trend will reflect more homes sold in the lower price ranges,” Yun said in a statement, also suggesting that loosened lending standards could further strengthen the home sale figures.

You can view the video below for more of Yun’s insight into the housing market.

The NAR defines pending homes sales as instances when a home seller accepts a sales contract on a property. The majority of pending home sales officially become home sales between one to two months after a contract is signed, according to the organization.

If your one of the many consumers interested in purchasing a home, make sure to correctly determine your budget, do your research and negotiate to get the best deal possible.

Discover: Shopping for a Mortgage? Do Your Due Diligence

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