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  • Jason Tuvia

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates lower; 30-year fixed averaging 4.39%

Fixed mortgage rates have drifted lower, according to Freddie Mac, which said lenders were offering 30-year fixed home loans at an average of 4.39% this week, down from 4.41% a week ago.

It was the lowest reading for the weekly survey since Nov. 27.

The average rate for 15-year fixed mortgages edged down from 3.45% to 3.44%, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The decline followed a sharper drop in fixed rates last week amid signs that the economic recovery is too weak to trigger large price increases.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said that take on inflation was reinforced by news this week that consumer prices continue to rise slowly.

Lenders and borrowers are awaiting developments from the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, which meets for two days next week.

Fed governors voted 9-1 at a committee meeting last month to start cutting back on a bond-purchasing program that has helped keep long-term interest rates low. They could announce further reductions on Wednesday.

Freddie Mac's survey, conducted since 1971, is the oldest continuous gauge of ups and downs in home lending rates. The housing finance giant reports on the terms being offered to solid borrowers who pay less than 1% of the loan amount in upfront lender fees and points.

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