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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 11/21/2012

Mortgage rates fall to historic lows

Mortgage rates hit an all-time low again this week, according to the latest data released by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 3.31 percent with an average 0.7 point, beating its previous record low of 3.34 percent set last week. It marks the ninth consecutive week that the 30-year fixed rate has been below 3.5 percent. A year ago this week, it was 3.98 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average remained below the five-year adjustable-rate average for the third week in a row, falling to a historic-low 2.63 percent with an average 0.7 point from its previous all-time low of 2.65 percent set last week. Last year at this time, it was 3.3 percent.

Hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages were mostly unchanged. The five-year ARM averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.6 point, the same as last week. It was 2.91 percent a year ago this week.

The one-year ARM edged up slightly to 2.56 percent with an average 0.5 point from 2.55 percent last week.

“Fixed mortgage rates continued to ease somewhat this week to record lows and should help the ongoing housing recovery,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Already, new construction on homes was up 3.6 percent in October to the strongest pace since July 2008. In November, homebuilder confidence rose for the sixth straight month to its highest reading since June 2006 according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. And existing home sales increased 2.1 percent in October to an annualized pace of 4.79 million, exceeding the market consensus forecast.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications, which reversed their five-week skid last week, resumed their downward course, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of loan application volume, decreased 2.2 percent from last week. The Refinance Index fell 3 percent, while the Purchase Index was up 3 percent compared with the previous week but 6 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity held steady at 81 percent of total applications, unchanged from the previous week.

By  |  10:00 AM ET, 11/21/2012

 
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