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Mortgage Rates Continue Month-Long Slide

Mortgage rate declines have continued now for more than a month straight, bringing interest rates down once again to new 2014 lows.

In its weekly released Primary Mortgage Market SurveyFreddie Mac found the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 4.12 percent (0.6 point) for the week ending May 29, down from 4.14 percent last week and the lowest 30-year fixed average since October 2013.

The 15-year FRM also slid down, averaging 3.21 percent (0.5 point) compared to last week's 3.25 percent.

The latest rate movements accompanied mixed news in the housing market, noted Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist: "Fixed mortgage rates eased a bit for the fifth consecutive week as reports thatexisting home sales are up 1.3 percent but not as much as expected. However, new home sales rose 6.4 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, which followed an upward revision of 11,000 units for the prior two months."

Movements were mixed for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). According to Freddie Mac, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.96 percent (0.3 point), unchanged from the last survey. Meanwhile, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.41 percent (0.4 point), down from 2.43 percent.

Bankrate.com's weekly national survey also showed declines for fixed rates, though adjustable rates were up. According to the finance site's latest data, the 30-year fixed last week averaged 4.25 percent, while the 15-year fixed was down to 3.35 percent. The 5/1 ARM, on the other hand, edged up a few basis points to 3.24 percent.

With the Federal Reserve tapering its stimulus purchases, analysts for Bankrate say it's outside pressures pushing rates down: "A number of factors come into play: disappointing U.S. economic growth at the start of 2014; slower growth in emerging markets; the prospect of European stimulus measures; and geopolitical issues around the globe, to name a few. But the bottom line is this—any time investors get nervous, whatever the reason, it is good news for mortgage shoppers."


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