Mortgage rates have slipped for the third week in a row, and the Federal Reserve is in no rush to raise long-term interest rates.

Homebuyers, you're in luck. Mortgage rates have slipped for the third week in a row, and the Federal Reserve is in no rush to raise long-term interest rates.

Homeowners who've been toying with the idea of refinancing are in a prime position to lock in a lower rate.

At the same time, rising home prices are squeezing would-be homebuyers' wallets. Painfully.

At its July meeting, the Fed opted to leave short-term rates unchanged while continuing to wait on taking action that could push up long-term rates.

As mortgage rates go down, more homeowners are refinancing. After all, the odds are in their favor.

The refinance share of mortgage applications jumped three percent last week, compared to a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinance activity rose to 46 percent of total mortgage applications, up from 44.7 percent the week prior.

Overall, though, mortgage applications saw only a minimal bump of 0.4 percent from the previous week, the MBA reported. That's due in large part to the ongoing shortages of homes for sale.

Lower rates not spurring buyers into action

The fact that fewer homes are on the market is pushing up home prices. And that's making things very tough for weary buyers — even with mortgage deals on their side.

Sales of existing homes fell 1.8 percent in June from the level seen in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"Interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that's straining their budget," says Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell this week to 4.09 percent from 4.11 percent, according to Bankrate's weekly survey of large lenders. A year ago, it was 3.63 percent. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.07 percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate average for this week is 0.35 percentage points below the 52-week high of 4.44 percent, and is 0.55 percentage points greater than the 52-week low of 3.54 percent.

The 30-year fixed mortgages in this week's survey had an average total of 0.24 discount and origination points.

Over the past 52 weeks, the 30-year fixed has averaged 4.03 percent. This week's rate is 0.06 percentage points higher than the 52-week average.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was flat at 3.31 percent.

The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 3.50 percent from 3.52 percent.

The 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage rose to 4.08 percent from 4.06 percent.

At the current 30-year fixed rate, you'll pay $482.62 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $483.78 last week.

At the current 15-year fixed rate, you'll pay $705.59 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, unchanged from last week.

At the current 5/1 ARM rate, you'll pay $449.04 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $450.16 last week.