NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Mortgage rates fell this week, marking two-consecutive months of declines, as a slew of economic reports continued to point to hurdles for the economic recovery.
The rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.81 percent in the week ending Aug. 19, with an average 0.7 point payable up front, down from 5.85 percent the previous week, Freddie Mac said.
A year earlier, the rate on the 30-year fixed-rate loan averaged 6.24 percent.
The 15-year mortgage rate fell to a 5.19 percent average from 5.4 percent, with 0.6 point payable up front. Last year, the average rate stood at 5.58 percent.
One-year adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 4.01 percent, down from 4.08 percent last week, with 0.6 of a point payable up front. At this time last year, the average rate for ARMs was 3.75 percent.
"Mortgage rates eased even further this week in response to a setback in economic growth during June and possibly July," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. "However, we believe the slowdown to be temporary and we expect growth to pick back up in the second half of this year.
"In the meantime, lower rates have spurred further expansion of homeownership, which was confirmed by the new housing construction figures for July," he added. "Thanks in great part to the low mortgage rates we have experienced thus far, 2004 will be another banner year for the housing industry."
Freddie Mac's (FRE: down $0.58 to $66.97, Research, Estimates) average mortgage rates are based on a survey of 125 lenders nationwide.