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Mortgage rates hold tight

Despite a lackluster August employment report, mortgage rates barely moved — if at all — this week as the financial markets speculate on further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

The Freddie Mac survey showed the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.55% for the week ending Thursday, unchanged from last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.09%.

The 30-year FRM stands only six basis points above the record low average hit in July.

The 15-year FRM, a popular refinancing choice, averaged 2.85%, ticking down from 2.86% last week. A year ago, the average rate for a 15-year FRM was 3.3%.

Five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 2.72%, down from 2.75% last week and falling from 2.99% a year earlier.

One-year, Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.61%, the same as last week and down from 2.81% last year.

The economy added 96,000 net new workers in August, while revisions subtracted 41,000 from the prior two months. Manufacturers cut 15,000 employees in August, representing the largest decline since August 2010. And about 368,000 people left the workforce, causing the unemployment rate to fall to 8.1%.

A new study from Fannie Mae shows it will be years before the number of residential construction jobs return to a normal level.

Home loan analytics firm Bankrate, which surveys large banks, reported that the 30-year FRM rose to 3.81% from 3.79%, while the 15-year FRM stayed at 3.04%. The 5/1 ARM slipped to 2.75% from 2.76% for the week.

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