Mortgage rates fell for the sixth consecutive week as a cooling real estate market and weak consumer confidence eliminated inflation concerns, Freddie Mac reported in its weekly mortgage survey.

Freddie Mac said that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sank to an average 6.44 percent this week, down from last week’s average of 6.48 percent, and is at its lowest since April 6, 2006, when it averaged 6.43 percent.

The average for the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also dipped from last week, falling from 6.18 percent to 6.14 percent, and is now at its lowest since the week ending April 6, when it was 6.1 percent.

Points, which are fees charged by lenders for loan processing expressed as a percent of the loan, averaged 0.4 on the 30- and 15-year loans.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) fell to 6.11 percent this week, with an average 0.5 point, down from last week’s rate of 6.14 percent. This is the lowest the five-year ARM has been since March 30, 2006, when it was 6.02 percent.

One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.59 percent this week, with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when they averaged 5.6 percent. This is the lowest the one-year ARM has been since April 6, 2006, when it was 5.57 percent.

“Mortgage rates continued to drift lower this week in large part because of the cooling in the housing market and in consumer confidence, thus giving financial markets reason to believe that economic growth will moderate and inflation will remain in check,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “As a matter of fact, the 30-year FRM is nearly 40 basis points lower than its peak of 6.8 percent in July of this year.”

“By some indicators, personal incomes are growing faster than the cost of housing. Combined with the still historically low mortgage rates, this will help to support the housing industry as it levels off from the record highs of the last few years.”

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 – 6.44 percent with 0.21 point

Los Angeles – 6.54 percent with 0.51 point

Chicago – 6.65 percent with 0.08 point

San Francisco – 6.53 percent with 0.31 point

Philadelphia – 6.33 percent with 0.48 point

Detroit – 6.57 percent with 0.03 point

Boston – 6.53 percent with 0.19 point

Houston – 6.5 percent with 0.45 point

Dallas – 6.45 percent with 0.54 point

Washington, D.C. – 6.33 percent with 0.79 point

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