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The Upward Climb Comes to a Halt: Mortgage Rates Ease

The ""conclusion of the Federal Reserve's mortgage purchase program"":http://dsnews.comarticles/feds-mortgage-purchase-program-sunsets-2010-03-31 had many worried that mortgage rates[IMAGE]

would jump to sky-high levels. And the uninterrupted increase in rates during the weeks following the sunset of the program just added fuel to that fire. However, in a turn of events, mortgage rates retreated for the week ending April 15, 2010, ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/ and ""Bankrate"":http://www.bankrate.com/ reported Thursday.

""After rising for four consecutive weeks, mortgage rates eased back to where they were two weeks ago and still remain historically low,"" said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist.

According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.07 percent with an average 0.6 point this week. Rates fell from last week's average of 5.21 percent but were still higher than last year at this time when 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.82 percent.

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Freddie Mac also reported a decline in 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. This week, rates averaged 4.4 percent with an average 0.7 point, dropping from 4.52 percent last week and coming in slightly lower than a year ago at this time when 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.48 percent.

Bankrate also reported a decline in rates, saying the concerns about large government debt issuance dissipated when investors came into the market and snapped up both government and mortgage-backed debt. The tracking company said the latter was particularly important as it showed that investors are filling the void left by the Federal Reserve.

According to Bankrate's weekly national survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell back to 5.21 percent with an average 0.38 point this week, down from 5.35 percent the week prior. In addition, the company said 15-year fixed-rate mortgages pulled back to 4.56 percent with an average 0.36 point, inching down from 4.69 percent last week.

Complementing Bankrate's survey is its weekly Rate Trend Index, in which mortgage experts predict which way rates are headed over the next week. In last week's index, panelists were unable to come to a clear consensus for the upcoming week, and the same was true this week.

While 39 percent of the panelists expect mortgage rates to rise over the next seven days, an additional 39 percent believe rates will remain more or less unchanged. Just 22 percent forecast a decline in rates over the coming week.

About Author: Brittany Dunn

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