Long-term mortgage rates this week dropped to their lowest levels in four weeks on news of a sharp slowdown in manufacturing and new-home sales, Freddie Mac reported today. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell this week to 6.07 percent from 6.17 percent a week earlier, and the average 15-year fixed was down to 5.68 percent from 5.79 percent. Points, or fees lenders charge for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.5 and 0.6, respectively, on the 30- and 15-year loans. Freddie Mac reported that average rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) also declined, with the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM falling from 5.9 percent to 5.78 percent and the one-year ARM dropping from 5.53 percent to 5.47 percent. Points on these loans averaged 0.5. "The new year has begun with mixed signals on the direction of the economy and mortgage market," Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statemen...
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