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Mortgage rates on the upswing
Long-term mortgage rates rise for a second straight week, while demand for home loans weakens.
November 27, 2002: 1:59 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Long-term mortgage rates rose for a second straight week in the week ending Nov. 29, but the housing market remains healthy despite the upswing momentum, economists said.

Thirty-year mortgage rates rose to 6.13 percent for the week ending Nov. 29 from 6.03 percent the previous week, Freddie Mac reported Wednesday in its weekly nationwide survey.

Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, also inched upward to an average of 5.57 percent from 5.44 percent.

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Rates on 30-year mortgages dropped to 5.94 percent for the week ending Nov. 15, the lowest level since the mortgage lender began tracking 30-year mortgage rates in 1971. It also had marked the seventh time this year that rates on this benchmark mortgage hit a new low.

One-year adjustable-rate mortgages also rose, to an average of 4.19 percent from 4.14 percent.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 7.02 percent, 15-year mortgages 6.53 percent, and the ARM 5.22 percent.

"Mortgage rates have been so low and accommodating that total home sales surged in October as families took advantage of the affordable atmosphere," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist.

Low mortgage rates this year have been feeding a refinancing boom. The extra monthly cash consumers are saving by refinancing their mortgages at lower interest rates is helping to support consumer spending, which has been the main force keeping the economy going this year.

Stoked by low mortgage rates, home sales are expected to post records this year.

Total mortgage loan applications dipped by 5.8 percent last week from the previous week but remained at brisk levels, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America said Wednesday. Refinancing activity accounted for 76.6 percent of those applications.

For one-year adjustable-rate mortgages, rates increased to 4.19 percent this week, compared with 4.14 percent last week.  Top of page

-- from staff and wire reports

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