Wednesday, November 24, 2004

US long-term mortgage rates decline this week

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages in the United States averaged 5.72 percent this week, down slightly from 5.74 percent last week, Freddie Mac reported Wednesday.

Rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages hit a high this year of 6.34 percent the week of May 13 and had drifted downward slowly since then.

In its weekly nationwide survey, the mortgage wholesaler also reported that rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, which is a popular option for refinancing, averaged 5.15 percent this week, unchanged from last week.

However, one-year adjustable rate mortgages rose to 4.27 percent this week, up sharply from 4.17 percent last week.

A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages averaged 5.83 percent with 15-year mortgages at 5.17 percent and one-year adjustable rate mortgages at 3.72 percent.

Aided by low mortgage rates, the housing market has been a constant bright spot for the US economy. An improved job market isanother factor that is fueling home sales, analysts say. They predict that sales of both new and existing homes for all of 2004 will set new record highs.

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