WASHINGTON – The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has dipped to near its record low, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.88 percent this week, down from 3.9 percent. In February, the rate hit 3.87 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The 30-year loan is the most common financing option for home buyers.

The average on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, dipped to 3.12 percent, down from 3.13 percent last week. The national average hit an all-time low of 3.11 percent two weeks ago.