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Long-Term Mortgage Rates at Record Lows

The average for 30-year loans hits 5.79%. Trend may mean another big year for housing.

February 28, 2003|From Reuters

Thirty- and 15-year mortgage rates dipped to record lows for a second straight week, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.

Thirty-year mortgage rates stood at an average of 5.79% this week, breaking the previous record low of 5.84% the previous week. Freddie Mac began tracking 30-year mortgages in 1971.

Fifteen-year mortgages stood at an average of 5.14%, down from the previous record of 5.21% last week. Freddie Mac began tracking 15-year mortgages in 1991.

One-year adjustable-rate mortgages were almost unchanged at an average of 3.83%, compared with last week's record low of 3.81%.

"Debilitating forces, such as looming war clouds in the Mideast, declining consumer confidence and other issues, are making an economic rebound difficult," said Freddie Mac chief economist Frank Nothaft. "And when the economy is weak, interest rates tend to follow suit.

"Low rates will continue to keep the housing industry busy this year, and indications are that there is a good chance home sales may set yet another record in 2003," he said.

Freddie Mac said lenders charged an average of 0.6% in fees and points on 30- and 15-year mortgages, both unchanged from last week. They also charged 0.6% on the one-year ARM, down from 0.7% the previous week.

Freddie Mac is a corporation chartered by Congress to purchase mortgages from lenders and package them into securities for investors or hold them in its own portfolio.

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