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Freddie: Plunging Mortgage Rates Smash New Records

Mortgage rates again smashed records Thursday by falling to new lows as investors continued to flee Europe, buying up safer U.S. Treasury debt, keeping interest rates low, and setting up all-time highs for housing affordability, according to ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/. Finance Web site ""Bankrate.com"":http://www.bankrate.com/ differed by posting slight upticks for the benchmark 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages.

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The disagreement between the two rate-trackers crests on separate weekly surveys. Freddie found rock-bottom rates by drawing data from a bevy of lenders for the ""Primary Mortgage Market Survey"":http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/, while Bankrate.com culled information from the nation's top 10 banks and thrifts for its own survey.

According to the GSE, rates for the 30-year loan collapsed to 4.01 percent, averaging 0.7 points, a steady slope downward from last week, which recorded 4.09 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô still below 4.32 percent from the same time last year.

Bankrate.com contrasted the breathtaking plunge by duly noting a rise in interest rates for the 30-year loan to 4.30 percent, averaging 0.37 discount and origination points.

For the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, Freddie denoted a 3.28-percent drop, with an average 0.7 points, still below 3.29 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô still down from 3.75 percent seen for the same loan at the same time last year.

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The finance Web site found the 15-year rising to 3.47 percent, with the 30-year jumbo following not far behind at 4.87 percent.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) hovered for Freddie at about the same level seen last week, with 5-year Treasury-indexed ARMs unchanging at an average 3.02 percent from last week and the 1-year inching up to 2.83 percent this week from 2.82 percent last week.

Bankrate.com found rates for the 5-year ARMs scaling up to 3.13 percent, with those for the 7-year hitting 3.33 percent.

New lows for mortgage rates track decisions by the Federal Reserve to move forward with a short-term Treasury buy-up.

""Fixed mortgage rates fell to all-time record lows this week following the Federal Reserve's announcement of its Maturity Extension Program and additional purchases of mortgage-backed securities,"" Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist with Freddie, said in a ""statement"":http://freddiemac.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=12329&item=66434.

""Interest rates for ARMs, however, were nearly unchanged as the Federal Reserve plans to sell $400 billion in short-term Treasury securities, which serve as benchmarks for many ARMs,"" he added.

In a separate ""statement"":http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=61502&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1611279&highlight=, Bankrate.com told a different story, saying, ""After falling in each of the past eight weeks and setting new record lows for 5 consecutive weeks, mortgage rates were higher this week. Optimism that Europe can avoid a full-blown financial meltdown gave markets a boost, and that resulted in mortgage rates moving up.""

The finance Web site added a caveat: ""But with the backdrop of a weak U.S. economy, slower growth around the globe, and the Federal Reserve reinvesting in mortgage-backed bonds, mortgage rates are destined to stay low in the months ahead.""

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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