Mortgage rates continued to fall this week, inching closer to the historic lows recorded last June, according to surveys conducted by mortgage buyer Freddie Mac and Bankrate.

In Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.38 percent for the week ended today, down from last week when it averaged 5.41 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week is 4.69 percent, unchanged from last week’s average. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.7.

One-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.39 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from 3.41 percent last week. This is the lowest the one-year ARM has been since Freddie Mac began tracking those figures in January 1984.

“Mortgage rates this week are barely above the generational low levels we saw in June of last year,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. “Indeed, Freddie Mac’s annual average forecast of long-term mortgage rates is approximately 5.75 percent for the 30-year FRM this year, well below the 33-year historical average.

“That said, we are currently predicting that this will fuel yet another record year for total home sales.”

Mortgage rates inched downward to the lowest level since June 2003, and are closing in on the historic lows established at that time, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in Bankrate’s survey declined from 5.44 percent to 5.41 percent. A historic low of 5.28 percent, a 45-year low, was posted on June 11, 2003. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.34 discount and origination points.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage popular for refinancing ticked lower, from 4.76 percent to 4.73 percent. The one-year adjustable-rate mortgage and the jumbo 30-year fixed-rate mortgage each declined 1 basis point, to 3.42 percent and 5.63 percent, respectively. A basis point is one one-hundredth of one percentage point.

Lingering job market concerns, coupled with renewed fears of terrorism and a continued low rate outlook as underscored by the Federal Reserve’s rate- setting committee has helped push bond yields and mortgage rates lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

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

New York – 5.53 percent with 0.1 point

Los Angeles – 5.38 percent with 0.6 point

Chicago – 5.47 percent with 0.1 point

San Francisco – 5.41 percent with 0.4 point

Philadelphia – 5.43 percent with 0.14 point

Detroit – 5.27 percent with 0.41 point

Boston – 5.56 percent with no points

Houston – 5.38 percent with 0.59 point

Dallas – 5.37 percent with 0.58 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.33 percent with 0.45 point

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