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Mortgage Rates Inch Down Slightly

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Fixed mortgage rates for most home loans fell slightly this week to remain near historic lows.

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dipped to 4.13% from 4.15% last week, according to the latest survey from mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. It was at 4.37% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the average rate on a 15-year fixed loan dropped to 3.23% from 3.24% last week. At this time last year it averaged 3.41%.

“Mortgage rates were little changed amid a week of light economic reports,” said Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “Of the few releases, industrial production rose by 0.2% in June, below the market consensus forecast. Also, the producer price index for final demand rose 0.4% in June, rebounding from a 0.2% decline the prior month.”

Averages for the two most popular hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages also dropped slightly. The five-year ARM inched down to 2.97% from 2.99% a week ago. A year ago, it averaged 3.17%. The one-year ARM average ticked down to 2.39% from 2.40% last week. It was at 2.66% at this time last year.

Rates have fallen recently after rising at the end of 2013, when the Federal Reserve announced it would begin to curb its bond-buying stimulus program. The program has helped offset dramatic gains in real estate prices and kept affordability elevated while the market has stabilized.

Looking ahead, most analysts predict rates will hold steady in the short term.

In the latest Mortgage Rate Trend Survey by Bankrate.com, 86% of the analysts polled said rates will remain unchanged over the next week while 14% of analysts predict rates will seesaw upward.

“Rates have crept marginally higher, but that should stop soon,” said Jim Sahnger, a mortgage planner with Schaffer Mortgage in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. “Look to see moderation and the potential for them to creep down a bit.”

“Enjoy the ride, though, while it is at hand,” he added. “While we don’t know when, we do know that rates will, at some time, start to run back up and if you could stand to benefit from a refinance or purchase a new home, don’t wait.”

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