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Mortgage Rates Barely Budge This Week

Mortgage rates for the week ending March 18, 2010 showed very little movement from last week, ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and ""Bankrate"":http://www.bankrate.com/ reported Thursday.

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According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.96 percent with an average 0.7 point this week, nudging up from last week's average of 4.95 percent. This week's average was still lower than last year at this time when 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.98 percent.

Freddie Mac also reported a minor change in 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. This week, rates for 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.6 point, up just 0.01 percent from 4.33 percent the week prior. Year-over-year, the difference was more notable. During this same week in 2009, rates for 15-year fixed mortgages averaged 4.61 percent.

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""Mortgage rates for fixed-rate mortgages were virtually unchanged this week as the effects of the prior storms emerged in recent housing data,"" said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.

Bankrate reported the same trend of rates nearly level with last week's averages, saying this was another week absent of any mortgage rate volatility.

According to its weekly national survey, rates for 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 5.07 percent, a slight drop from last week's average of 5.08 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed mortgages, though, nudged up to 4.45 percent, posting very small increase from 4.43 percent last week.

Looking to the future, Bankrate said the days of low volatility appear numbered. Although the Federal Reserve is maintaining its pledge to keep short-term interest rates ""exceptionally low"" for ""an extended period,"" this doesn't necessarily dictate what will happen with fixed mortgage rates, Bankrate explained.

Far more significant is the Fed's program of buying mortgage-backed securities, which will come to a halt, as scheduled, by the end of the month. With the Fed no longer serving as the dominant buyer of mortgage securities, fixed-rate mortgages are likely to be affected.

About Author: Brittany Dunn

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