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Mortgage rates at the lowest point in 6 months

January 25, 2004


Mortgage rates around the country dropped for the second straight week, welcome news to people thinking about buying a home or refinancing.

The average rate on 30-year mortgages fell to 5.64 percent -- the lowest rate in six months, and down from 5.66 percent last week -- Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, said last week in its weekly nationwide survey of mortgage rates.

Rates on 30-year mortgages have bounced around after sinking to a four-decade low of 5.21 percent in the middle of June.

For 15-year mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rates decreased to 4.95 percent this week, down from 4.97 percent last week. Rates for 1-year adjustable mortgages dipped to 3.56 percent, compared with 3.62 percent last week.

"Mortgage rates remain low as the economy picks up steam, allowing families a chance to purchase a new home or refinance if they haven't yet," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist. "With low prospects of inflation increasing anytime soon, mortgage rates should remain affordable over the first half of this year."

Home-mortgage refinancing activity also has been kept healthy by low mortgage rates. The Mortgage Bankers Association said refinancing accounted for 57.7 percent of all mortgage applications filed last week, up from 51.6 percent the previous week.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 5.91 percent, 15-year mortgages were 5.31 percent and one-year adjustable mortgages stood at 3.93 percent.


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