The predictions seemed to come from every direction, but the message remained the same: Interest rates for mortgages would come close, if not hit, 7 percent by the end of this year.

Now, more than halfway through 2004, it seems unlikely that interest rates will hit that 7 percent mark as originally predicted. Instead, they’re still hovering around 6 percent, despite one hike in the federal funds target rate and another, which is widely expected to happen today.

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