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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 3, 2006

30-year mortgage rates fall again

 •  Hawai'i Real Estate Report

By Martin Crutsinger
Associated Press

WASHINGTON Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down slightly this week, the second consecutive decline, according to a nationwide survey of rates.

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported yesterday that rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.24 percent this week, down from 6.26 percent last week.

The 30-year mortgage declined for three straight weeks at the beginning of the year, then posted four straight increases, hitting a high for this year of 6.28 percent three weeks ago.

Analysts noted that all of the changes have been very small. They forecast that moves for the rest of the year were likely to be modest also as long as the Federal Reserve does not feel the need to push up interest rates more aggressively to fight inflation.

"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," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac.

If that forecast proves accurate, it would mean 30-year rates would be at 6.5 percent by December. Other analysts think that rates could go as high as 7 percent by the end of this year.

Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing a home mortgage, averaged 5.89 percent this week, unchanged from last week.

One-year adjustable rate mortgages edged up slightly to 5.34 percent from 5.32 percent last week.

Rates on five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages edged up to 5.97 percent this week, from 5.96 percent last week.

The mortgage rates do not include add-on fees known as points. The one-year adjustable rate mortgage had a nationwide average fee of 0.8 point last week. The other three mortgage categories carried nationwide average fees of 0.6 point.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages averaged 5.79 percent, 15-year mortgages stood at 5.33 percent, one-year adjustable-rate mortgages were at 4.14 percent and five-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages averaged 5.17 percent.