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Mortgage rates hold
The 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages log minimal rise; ARM unchanged from last week.
January 23, 2003: 11:58 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Long-term mortgage rates rose minimally, while the one-year adjustable rate mortgage held steady, lender Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year mortgage averaged 5.97 percent for the week ending Jan. 17, with an average of 0.6 of a point payable up front to the lender, up slightly from 5.95 percent last week but well below its 6.83 percent average of a year ago.

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The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.36 percent, up a bit from 5.33 percent last week and 6.31 percent last year. The 15-year mortgage averaged 0.6 of a point payable up front to the lender.

One-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), loosely indexed to the 10-year Treasury note, averaged 4.03 percent. The one-year ARM was unchanged from last week and averaged 0.7 of a point payable up front. A year ago, the one-year ARM averaged 5.08 percent.

"Mortgage rates were largely unchanged this week, amid a sobering December jobs report and growing tensions in the (Middle East) and the Korean peninsula," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. "Disappointing retail sales, a struggling manufacturing sector, and mild business investment are all holding mortgage rates in the six-percent range."

Freddie Mac's average mortgage rates are based on a survey of 125 lenders nationwide. The rates include those on mortgages accepted by borrowers with good credit ratings who place a 20 percent down payment on their homes, according to Freddie Mac. The total amount of each mortgage considered for the survey doesn't exceed a $300,700 limit.

Freddie Mac (FRE: down $0.69 to $60.97, Research, Estimates), or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., is a publicly traded company the government established in 1970 to provide a flow of funds to mortgage lenders. It buys mortgages from banks, bundles them and then resells them as mortgage-backed securities.

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Its products, and the products of other similar entities, have become increasingly popular as an alternative to government-backed bonds, particularly with international investors.  Top of page

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