Mortgage rates posted mixed movement this week as sales of new homes and higher-than-expected inflation offered an unclear economic outlook, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com. In Freddie Mac's survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held at an average 6.16 percent, while the 15-year fixed fell to 5.86 percent from 5.9 percent last week. Points, which are fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans. "Recent data releases sent conflicting signals about the direction of the housing market," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement. "The rise in existing-home sales in February to a 6.69 million-unit pace, the highest level since last April, offered some hope of firming in housing demand. In contrast, February's new-home sales fell unexpectedly to 848,000 units, the slowest pace since June 2000, suggesting that more time will be needed ...
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