Mortgage rates fall on economic news

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average 4.41 percent for the week ending today -- down from 4.51 percent a week ago -- on "signs of a weakening economic recovery," according to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages sank to 3.45 percent from 3.56 percent a week ago, while the average on the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) dipped from 3.15 percent to 3.1 percent and the one-year Treasury-indexed ARM remained at 2.56 percent.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's vice president and chief economist, in a statement attributed the lower rates to a mere 74,000 jobs added to the economy in December, which was "less than the market consensus forecast," and noted that retail sales rose just 0.2 percent in December, half of November's 0.4 percent increase.

Source: Freddie Mac

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