Mortgages rates fell for the third consecutive week as cooling home sales and economic indicators exerted influence, according to surveys conducted by Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com.

In Freddie Mac’s survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.22 percent for the week ended today, down from last week’s average of 6.26 percent.

The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 5.76 percent, down from last week’s average of 5.79 percent. Points on the 30-year averaged 0.5, while those on the 15-year averaged 0.6.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.79 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.82 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.15 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 5.22 percent.

“Lower figures for the recently released Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index and lower, but still strong, Gross Domestic Product combined with the seasonal slowdown in the housing market led to another decline in mortgage rates this week,” said Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. “For the year, the 30-year mortgage rate averaged 5.87 percent, slightly above 5.84 percent set in 2004.

“Not surprisingly, existing-home sales fell 1.7 percent in November when the 30-year FRM averaged 6.33 percent, the highest monthly average of this year.”

In Bankrate.com’s survey, fixed mortgage rates fell slightly this week, as long-term interest rates declined following a large decrease in new-home sales. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped from 6.33 percent to 6.28 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large lenders. The 30-year fixed rate mortgages in this week’s survey had an average of 0.36 discount and origination points.

Bankrate.com also reported that the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate declined by the same amount, from 5.91 percent to 5.86 percent, with the average jumbo 30-year fixed rate following suit, falling from 6.5 percent to 6.45 percent. Adjustable-rate mortgages were mixed, with the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage dropping from 5.9 percent to 5.82 percent, while the average one-year ARM increased from 5.53 percent to 5.56 percent.

The decline in fixed mortgage rates and the increase in one-year adjustable rates mimic a similar move in Treasury yields, Bankrate.com reported. While yields on short- and long-term Treasury securities have been converging since the first half of 2004, this week their paths finally crossed — literally. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes were actually lower than the yields on shorter-term government securities maturing in six months, one year, and two years. This phenomenon, known as an inverted yield curve, often foretells of a coming economic recession. However, the signal is not always accurate. Regardless, the inversion of the yield curve highlights the attractiveness of fixed-rate mortgages relative to adjustable-rate mortgages that subject borrowers to increases in monthly payments.

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

New York – 6.25 percent with 0.19 point

Los Angeles – 6.31 percent with 0.57 point

Chicago – 6.4 percent with 0.03 point

San Francisco – 6.37 percent with 0.34 point

Philadelphia – 6.19 percent with 0.45 point

Detroit – 6.34 percent with no points

Boston – 6.28 percent with 0.16 point

Houston – 6.27 percent with 0.72 point

Dallas – 6.33 percent with 0.54 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.11 percent with 0.57 point

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