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US Mortgage Rates Fall

Freddie Mac reported Thursday that US mortgage rates declined for the third consecutive week, increasing affordability even as demand is declining. The average rate for a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.87 percent for the week ending today, compared to 4.95 percent last week, Freddie said. The average for a 15 year, meanwhile, dropped from 4.22 percent to 4.15.

The housing market has continued to struggle in 2011 as unemployment continues to hover above 9 percent and an influx of foreclosed properties keeps prices from recovering. The number of purchase contacts on existing homes fell 2.8 percent in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, after December's contracts were revised from a small gain to a 3.2 percent decline.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, meanwhile, reported that applications for financing fell 6.5 percent last week. The group's purchase index fell 6.1 percent, while its measure of refinance activity fell 6.5 percent for the week ended February 25th. The average rate for the 30-year mortgage, easily the most popular mortgage type in the US, reached an 8-month high of 5.05 percent in February, and the rate has fallen every week since, according to data from Freddie Mac.

March 3, 2012

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