Long-term mortgage rates were mixed again this week as markets tried to make sense of strong GDP growth, falling consumer confidence and increased demand for bonds, Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com reported today.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held at an average 6.24 percent — a six-month low — while the average 15-year fixed rate sank from 5.9 percent to 5.88 percent, also a six-month low.

Points, or fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.

Average rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) also varied this week, with the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM rising from 5.89 percent to 5.96 percent and the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM holding at 5.5 percent, its lowest level in six months. Points on the five-year and one-year loans averaged 0.4 and 0.5, respectively.

“Higher productivity growth in the third quarter coupled with a larger-than-expected decline in consumer confidence in November sent mixed signals to the current state of the economy,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “As a result, there were no definite upward or downward pressures on mortgage rates this week.

“On a positive note, the National Association of Realtors reported this week an unexpected 0.2 percent gain in September’s pending home sales index, which suggests less of a decline in existing-home sales for October and November,” Nothaft noted. “That said, however, it should be noted the index is still 24 percent below that in December 2006.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, mortgage rates declined slightly this week, with the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling from 6.34 percent to 6.32 percent, and discount and origination points on these loans averaging 0.34.

According to Bankrate.com, the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing slipped to 5.98 percent this week, while the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate jumped to 7.15 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates were mixed, with the average one-year ARM decreasing to 6.04 percent and the average 5/1 ARM rising to 6.19 percent.

Mortgage rates were little changed in the past week despite turbulence in financial markets and concerns about mortgage write-downs, Bankrate.com reported. Fixed mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds, so typically when bond yields decline, mortgage rates follow suit. That relationship has been disrupted in the past couple weeks as investors place greater emphasis on risk-free Treasury securities and command higher returns on mortgage-backed bonds. This decoupling of government bonds and mortgage rates was evident when bond yields declined but mortgage barely budged.

Just three months ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.68 percent, meaning that a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,288. Now that the average conforming 30-year fixed rate is 6.32 percent, the same $200,000 loan carries a monthly payment of $1,241, Bankrate.com noted.

The following is a sampling of Bankrate.com’s average 30-year-mortgage interest rates this week in some U.S. metropolitan areas:

New York – 6.37 percent with 0.16 point

Los Angeles – 6.36 percent with 0.56 point

Chicago – 6.39 percent with 0.18 point

San Francisco – 6.25 percent with 0.59 point

Philadelphia – 6.36 percent with 0.17 point

Detroit – 6.41 percent with 0.03 point

Boston – 6.39 percent with 0.01 point

Houston – 6.18 percent with 0.75 point

Dallas – 6.26 percent with 0.45 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.19 percent with 0.56 point

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