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Rates sink on all types of mortgages
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    WASHINGTON — Mortgage rates fell this week with 30-year mortgage rates dropping to the lowest level in six weeks as investors became less worried that the Federal Reserve would soon tighten credit policy to stall inflation.
    Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, reported Thursday that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.26 percent this week.
    That was down from 6.37 percent last week. It marked only the second weekly decline in the past eight weeks and left the 30-year rate at the lowest point since it averaged 6.09 percent the week of June 5.
    Analysts attributed the decline in part to comments made this week by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He indicated in his mid-year economic report to Congress that the central bank was poised between concerns about rising inflation pressures and the weakening economy.
    Many analysts viewed Bernanke’s comments as a signal that the central bank will delay tightening rates to give the fragile economy and banking system time to recover. The Fed is hoping that the sluggish economy will help dampen inflation on its own.
    ‘‘Mortgage rates fell this week amid market speculation that the Federal Reserve may not raise the overnight bank lending rate this year after all,’’ said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac.
    Other rates dropped as well, according to Freddie Mac’s nationwide survey.
    Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, a popular option for refinancing, dipped to 5.78 percent, down from 5.91 percent last week.
    Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 5.80 percent, down slightly from 5.82 percent last week, while rates on one-year ARMs dropped to 5.10 percent, down from 5.17 percent last week.
    The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The nationwide fee for 30-year, 15-year, five-year and one-year mortgages all averaged 0.6 point this week.
    A year ago, rates on 30-year mortgages stood at 6.73 percent, 15-year mortgage rates averaged 6.38 percent, five-year adjustable-rate mortgages were at 6.35 percent and one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.72 percent.
    Home foreclosures have hit record highs as sagging home values have left some borrowers owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. With more empty homes being dumped on an already glutted market, prices are being pulled lower. Buyers, however, have become harder to find as credit has gotten harder to secure.

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