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Home-mortgage interest rates fell last week to the lowest point of 2011 amid signs of a slowing economy, according to the latest survey from Freddie Mac.
“U.S. house prices indexes may be nearing a bottom soon,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said, pointing to slower price declines in recent months and a reduction in the serious delinquency rate.
At the same time, the U.S. economy has showed signs of slowing, with Federal Reserve banks in Philadelphia, Chicago and Richmond, Va., reporting less business and manufacturing activity in their regions.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.60% in the week ended Thursday, down from 4.61% the prior week and 4.84% a year ago. The last time the 30-year rate was lower was in the week ended Dec. 2, when the rate was 4.46%. The rate fell to as low as 4.17% in November 2010 before surging to 5.05% in the week ended Feb. 10, 2011.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 3.78% from 3.80% the previous week and 4.21% a year earlier.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.41%, down from 3.48% the prior week and 3.97% a year earlier. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs declined to 3.11% from 3.15% the prior week and 3.95% a year earlier.
To obtain the rates, the fixed-rate mortgages required an average payment of 0.7 point, while adjustable mortgages required a lower 0.5 point. A point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal
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