Rates for fixed-rate mortgages around the country edged down this week, while rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages held steady for the third straight week at their lowest level in 19 years of record-keeping.

The average interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 5.86 percent, down from 5.88 percent last week, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly survey.

Rates on 30-year mortgages started the new year by dropping to 5.85 percent, the lowest since Freddie began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. Records that reach back earlier than Freddie Mac's indicate that rate is the lowest since the early 1960s.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option or refinancing, rates averaged 5.26 percent, down from 5.27 percent last week.

Rates for one-year adjustable-rate mortgages stood at 3.89 percent this week. Rates for one-year ARMs have held steady since the week ended Jan. 31, when they dropped to their lowest level since Freddie Mac began tracking them in 1984.

Low mortgage rates powered sales of both new homes and previously owned homes to record highs in 2002.

This week's mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year and 15-year mortgages each carried an average fee of 0.6 point this week, and one-year ARMs had an average 0.7 point financing fee.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 6.86 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 6.35 percent and one-year adjustable mortgages stood at 4.98 percent.

EVENTS . . . Principles of progressive design will be discussed at two lectures at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, Washington (phone 202-272-2448; Web site: www.nbm.org): "Redesigning Cities," 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 26, with architect and urban planner Jonathan Barnett. Discussion topics include design principles to promote a sense of community, livable neighborhoods and workplaces, reduced traffic congestion, social equity and preserving and restoring the natural environment. Following that Barnett will be signing his book "Redesigning Cities" (APA Planners Press, $45.95). Admission: $15; registration required; "Big and Green," sustainable architecture, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27, with developer Douglas Durst of the Durst Organization and Robert Fox Jr. of Fox & Fowle Architects. Discussion topics: their collaboration on Four Times Square and One Bryant Park as examples of the design, construction and economics of large-scale sustainable structures. The exhibit "Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century," which continues through June 22, will be open until 8:30 p.m. Admission: $17; registration is required. . . . The Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association plans an oyster roast and general membership meeting Feb. 27 at the Rod-N-Reel Restaurant, Route 261 and Mears Avenue in Chesapeake Beach, Md. A reception at 6 p.m. precedes the 7 p.m. dinner and program featuring Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's county commissioners. Reservations required by Friday; cost is $90 each, $65 for members. For information, call Kathy Rockinberg at 301-445-5406. For directions, call 301-855-8351 or toll-free 877-763-6733.