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Fixed Rates See Slight Changes, Hover Near Record Lows

Fixed mortgage rates made small movements this week as fiscal cliff negotiations seemed to stall.

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According to ""Freddie Mac's"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) interest rate averaged 3.32 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending December 13, down slightly from 3.34 percent the previous week.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.66 percent (0.6 point), down week-to-week from 2.67 percent.

Adjustable rates also budged, though only slightly: The 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.70 percent (0.6 point), up one basis point from the last survey, while the 1-year

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ARM averaged 2.53 percent (0.5 point), down from 2.55 percent previously.

""Mortgage rates held relatively steady following the November employment report,"" said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac, noting that the November's unemployment rate was down to 7.7 percent. ""However, in its December 12 ""monetary policy statement"":http://www.themreport.com/articles/fomc-maintains-policy-stance-to-hold-down-rates-2012-12-12, the Federal Reserve noted that this rate remains elevated and modified the statement to tie any increases to its target rate to the unemployment rate falling below 6.5 percent.""

If the Fed's projections hold out, that rate will not be reached until 2015 or later.

Rates measured by ""Bankrate's"":http://www.bankrate.com/ weekly survey were even more sluggish. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.52 percent, a slight increase from last week's low of 3.50 percent. The 15-year fixed average remained unchanged at 2.85 percent. The 5/1 ARM was also flat, holding at 2.74 percent.

""Mortgage rates showed little movement as the fiscal cliff talks looked more like a stalemate,"" Bankrate said in a release. ""But a newly announced stimulus plan from the Federal Reserve aimed at buying longer-term Treasuries should help bring both bond yields and mortgage rates lower, albeit modestly. Don't expect any big moves in mortgage rates as long as the fiscal cliff talks drag on.""

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.
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