By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
30-year fixed mortgage rates fall for third straight week, hit lowest level in five months
Placeholder Image
    WASHINGTON — Rates on 30-year mortgages fell for the third straight week, dropping to the lowest level in five months.
    Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages dipped to 6.24 percent this week, down from 6.26 percent last week.
    It was the third straight weekly decline after rates hit 6.40 percent. Analysts attributed the decreases to mounting evidence that the economy is starting to slow.
    ‘‘Reports of weaker consumer spending in September and a decline in manufacturing activity in October kept mortgages at bay this week,’’ said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at Freddie Mac.
    The Federal Reserve last week cut a key interest rate by a quarter-part, marking the second rate reduction in the past six weeks. Fed officials, however, disappointed investors by signaling that there may not be further rate cuts, given their worries about higher inflation from surging energy prices and a weaker dollar.
    Mortgage rates fell across the board this week.
    Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing, averaged 5.90 percent, down from 5.91 percent last week.
    Rates on five-year adjustable rate mortgages averaged 5.89 percent, down from 5.98 percent last week.
    Rates on one-year ARMs dropped to 5.50 percent, down from 5.57 percent last week.
    The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages carried a nationwide average fee of 0.4 point while 15-year mortgages and five-year adjustable-rate mortgages carried an average fee of 0.5 point. The one-year ARM carried an average fee of 0.6 point.
    A year ago, 30-year mortgages stood at 6.33 percent, 15-year mortgages were at 6.04 percent, five-year ARMS averaged 6.08 percent and one-year ARMs were at 5.55 percent.
    The worst slump in housing in more than two decades worsened in recent months in the face of rising mortgage defaults that triggered a severe credit crunch that has roiled financial markets since August.
    Many homeowners are having trouble making higher payments now that their low introductory adjustable-rate mortgages are resetting to higher rates. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke estimated Thursday in congressional testimony that an average of 450,000 subprime mortgages — loans offered to borrowers with weak credit histories — will reset each quarter through the end of 2008.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter