Mortgage rates started the new year lower than the week before, continuing a trend of declining rates that began in mid-November.

According to the latest Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.51 percent for the week ending January 3. The week before it was 4.55 percent. The 30-year rate peaked in mid November at 4.94 percent.

The average 15-year fixed rate dropped from 4.01 percent to 3.99 percent in the past week. A year ago at this time, it was 3.38 percent.

Rates for 5-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.98 percent for the week. It was 4 percent the week before. A year ago, 5-year ARM rates averaged 3.45 percent.

“Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy,” said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater. “However, it will be interesting to see how the recent turmoil in the stock market will affect homebuying activity in the coming months.”