Long-term mortgage rates eased this week, according to surveys released by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.69 percent, with an average 0.7 points, for the week ended today, down from last week when it averaged 5.74 percent. The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week fell to 5.07 percent, with an average 0.6 points, down from 5.14 percent. Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.02 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 4.01 percent.

“Treasury bond yields eased somewhat this week, causing long-term mortgage rates to drift a little lower from last week,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist. “Mortgage rates for 1-year adjustable-rate mortgages, however, were almost unchanged, rising only one basis point in the same time frame.

“Lower mortgage rates, in turn, caused mortgage application activity to increase last week in both the refinance and home-purchase sectors,” Nothaft added. “Meanwhile, housing starts took a breather in September, following the robust pace set in August.”

Fixed mortgage rates fell to a seven-month low as rising oil prices fueled concerns about slower economic

Growth, according to Bankrate’s weekly survey. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 5.75 percent to 5.7 percent, the lowest since March 31. The 30-year fixed rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.32 discount and origination points.

The 15-year fixed rate mortgage popular for refinancing also dropped, from 5.15 percent to 5.08 percent. The average rate for the jumbo 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 5.95 percent to 5.91 percent, while the average one-year adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 4.06 percent.

Despite a slightly higher than expected reading on core consumer prices, bond yields and mortgage rates have declined in the past week. With oil prices reaching as high as $55 per barrel during the past week, financial markets have been jittery about the detrimental effects on growth in the economy and corporate profits. In times of market uncertainty, investors move money to the safe haven of government bonds, pushing bond yields lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term government bonds, and have declined as the 10-year Treasury note yield retreats to the 4 percent mark.

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

New York – 5.74 percent with 0.11 point

Los Angeles – 5.73 percent with 0.48 point

Chicago – 5.76 percent with 0.06 point

San Francisco – 5.74 percent with 0.29 point

Philadelphia – 5.7 percent with 0.33 point

Detroit – 5.66 percent with 0.25 point

Boston – 5.8 percent with no points

Houston – 5.61 percent with 0.67 point

Dallas – 5.67 percent with 0.42 point

Washington, D.C. – 5.57 percent with 0.59 point

***

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