Mortgage rates down - 3rd straight week

Freddie Mac cites weakening economy for easing of long-term rates.

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By Lara Moscrip, contributing writer

Which should be the Obama administration's priority?
  • Stimulating the economy
  • Reducing the budget deficit
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 4.35%
15 yr fixed 3.77%
5/1 ARM 4.18%
30 yr refi 4.36%
15 yr refi 3.74%

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NEW YORK ( -- Mortgage rates fell for the third week in a row amid reports of record-high job losses, weak retail sales and a home-construction market in a deep slump.

Freddie Mac said 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04% this week. That's down from 6.14% last week and below the 6.20% rate at this time last year.

Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have been at 6% or higher for six consecutive weeks. Between the week of Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage posted its biggest weekly jump since April 1987, rising from 5.94% to 6.46%.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, cited as "continuing signs of a slowing economy" that retail sales fell for the fourth straight month in October and consumer sentiment remained near a 28-year low in November.

On Thursday, the government reported that the number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a 16-year high.

Nothaft also noted that the Federal Reserve lowered its economic growth forecasts for 2008 and 2009, according to its minutes released this week.

Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 5.73% from 5.81% last week. A year ago, the rate was 5.83%.

The five-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 5.87% from 5.98% last week. A year ago, the rate was 5.88%.

The rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 5.29% from 5.33% last week. At this time last year, the rate was 5.42%.

In September, Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) were on the brink of failure, having racked up nearly $12 billion in losses from declining home prices, mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures.

Federal officials assumed control of the firms and the $5 trillion in home loans they back. The Treasury put up as much as $200 billion to bail them out and placed them in a temporary "conservatorship" overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  To top of page

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