Mortgage rates dropped for the second consecutive week, Freddie Mac reported today in its latest mortgage survey.

Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to an average 6.24 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 remained at 5.89 percent. Points on both the 30- and 15-year averaged 0.6.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 5.97 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up slightly from last week when it averaged 5.96 percent. The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 5.34 percent, with an average 0.8 point, up from last week when it averaged 5.32 percent.

“Consumer confidence slipped in February to the lowest reading in three months, but manufacturing activity appears to have strengthened last month. On net, the latest economic news had little effect on mortgage rates this week,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Over the past five weeks, mortgage rates have remained within a narrow range of 0.1 percentage points around this week’s averages. Our forecast calls for rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages to increase about one-quarter of a percentage point by the end of the year.

“The level of interest rates has slowed home sales in recent months, even though house prices still grew at a double-digit annualized pace during the final quarter of 2005, according to Freddie Mac’s Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index (CMHPI). Since the average time homes are on the market is near a three-year high, house-price growth should slow to single-digit figures, which is consistent with historical periods,” Nothaft added.

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 – 6.22 percent with 0.18 point

Los Angeles – 6.33 percent with 0.51 point

Chicago – 6.43 percent with 0.05 point

San Francisco – 6.36 percent with 0.3 point

Philadelphia – 6.16 percent with 0.41 point

Detroit – 6.33 percent with no points

Boston – 6.3 percent with 0.16 point

Houston – 6.23 percent with 0.6 point

Dallas – 6.21 percent with 0.52 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.11 percent with 0.7 point

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