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Mortgage Rates Begin to Toe 4.5% as Downward Trend Continues

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Mortgage rates hit or returned to record-low levels again in two weekly surveys. The Freddie Mac weekly survey put the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at 4.56% with a 0.7 origination point for the week ending July 22, down from 4.57% last week. The Bankrate weekly survey of large banks and thrifts put the 30-year FRM average at 4.77% with a 0.39 origination point, tying the record low for the survey after last week's slight increase to 4.77%. It marks the 10th weekly decline in the past 13 weeks of the Bankrate survey. "The decline in mortgages rates over the past few weeks echoes the recent signs of weakening confidence in the strength of the economy, particularly the housing and consumer sectors," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist in the weekly report. "We see these as part of the normal pattern of ebbs and flows in recovery and believe that there is sufficient momentum to carry the US economy forward, albeit moderately," Nothaft added. Freddie's 15-year FRM averaged 4.03% with a 0.7 origination point, a new record low after 4.06% last week. Bankrate said 15-year FRM rates averaged 4.18%, tying the record low set in the week of July 7. Freddie said the five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.79% with a 0.6 origination point, down from 3.85% a week earlier. Bankrate put the average rate for a five-year ARM at 4.06%, from 4.12% last week. Freddie said the one-year ARM dipped to an average 3.7% with a 0.7 origination point, down from 3.74% a week earlier. Write to Diana Golobay.

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