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Mortgage Rates Again Fall to New Record Lows: Freddie Mac

Mortgage interest rates dropped again this week, according to data released Thursday by ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com. The GSE says for yet another week, fixed-rate mortgages reached new record lows, while the 5-year adjustable rate loan remained tied at its low for the survey.

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Freddie's survey shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) is now averaging 4.42 percent (0.7 point), down from last week when it was 4.44 percent. The 15-year FRM came in at 3.90 percent (0.6 point), compared to 3.92 percent the week prior. And the 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) remained unchanged at 3.56 percent (0.6 point).

Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac's deputy chief economist, says investors in long-term bonds appear confident that inflation will remain in check, which in turn has helped to push mortgage rates even lower.

While the lowest rates in more than a half century have prompted ""a new refi craze"":http://dsnews.comarticles/refis-jump-to-highest-level-since-early-2009-mba-2010-08-18, Crews Cutts says they've done little to boost the purchasing side of the market, which ""appears to be in a lull following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credits.""

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Freddie Mac's mortgage rate report reflects the findings of a nationwide survey of the weekly rates offered by about 125 lenders.

Housing experts often advise homebuyers to shop around when looking for a mortgage lender, suggesting that more affordable, lower interest rates can be found at smaller regional and community-based banks. That assumption is reflected in a separate mortgage rates study released Thursday by ""Bankrate"":http://www.bankrate.

Bankrate surveys the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets. This week, the company's results revealed an increase in mortgage interest rates at these major lenders â€" the first rise in five weeks â€" although here too, rates are still extremely low by historical standards.

Bankrate reports the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate to be 4.63 percent (0.43 point). That's up from 4.57 percent the week before. The 15-year fixed home loan inched up from 4.06 percent to 4.11 percent this week (0.44 point) in Bankrate's survey. The 5/1 ARM edged up from 3.92 percent to 3.95 percent (0.24 point).

""Mortgage rates may have been higher this week, but it's not all bad news,"" Bankrate said in its report. ""Mortgage rates are currently at the second lowest level on record, after last week's record low.""

Each week, the company surveys a panel of mortgage experts to gauge which way interest rates are headed. Nearly half of the panelists â€" 47 percent â€" forecast an increase over the next week, and an identical 47 percent expect mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged. Just 6 percent predict mortgage rates will fall in the next week.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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