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Mortgage rates at record lows as 2011 ends
WASHINGTON (12/27/11)--Thirty-year fixed mortgages reached a new low in the week ended Dec. 22, averaging 3.91%, Freddie Mac reported last week.

The previous record low of 3.94% was set the week ended Dec. 15.

Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages remained steady, continuing at last week's record low average of 3.21%.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft noted that the historically low 30-year fixed mortgage rates, which have been "at or below 4% for the last eight weeks and now are almost 0.9 percentage points below where they were at the beginning of the year,"  are helping homebuyers save $1,200 more per year on a $200,000 loan.

Adjustable-rate mortgages also reached all-time lows last week, as five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 2.85% and one-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 2.77%.

"This greater affordability helped push existing home sales higher for the second consecutive month in November to an annualized pace of 4.42 million, the most since January," and new construction and homebuilder confidence have also been on the uptick, Nothaft added.
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