Mortgage rates declined again this week, with 30-year mortgages dropping to the lowest level since early April, providing more of a boost to the housing industry.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.64 percent for the week ended Oct. 28, Freddie Mac said Thursday in its weekly survey.

That was down from 5.69 percent last week and was the lowest level since the rates averaged 5.52 percent for the week ended April 1.

Rates on 30-year mortgages hit a high this year of 6.34 percent the week of May 13 before starting to head lower as markets responded to various signals that rising energy prices were acting as a drag on economic growth.

The lower mortgage rates have spurred sales of new and existing homes, which climbed in September to the third-highest levels in history.

Analysts believe sales for all of 2004 will set a records.

"Low mortgage rates drove the uptick in sales during September," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

"And with mortgage rates at their lowest level in six months, home sales should continue strong through the autumn months."

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, rates dropped this week to 5.01 percent, from 5.07 percent last week.

For one-year adjustable rate mortgages, rates fell to 3.96 percent, from 4.02 percent last week.

Both were the lowest levels since the spring.

The nationwide averages for mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points.

Thirty-year and 15-year mortgages each carried a 0.7-point fee.

One-year mortgages had a 0.8-point fee.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 6.05 percent, with 15-year mortgages at 5.39 percent and one-year ARMs at 3.76 percent.

EVENTS . . . Local historian James Goode is to discuss his book, "Capital Losses: A Cultural History of Washington's Destroyed Buildings," from 6:30 to 8 p.m Thursday at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, Washington. Goode is to sign copies of his book after the discussion. Admission is $17, $12 for students; registration is required. For information, call 202-272-2448; Web site: www.nbm.


PERSONNEL . . . Robert D. Broeksmit was elected vice chairman of the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association. Broeksmit is president and chief operating officer of B.F. Saul Mortgage in Bethesda. . . . Ira Tattelman joined the architectural firm of Eric Colbert and Associates as senior architect and director of interior architecture.

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