Economic slowdown pushes fixed-rate mortgages to 2011 low

A slowdown in economic activity has pushed fixed-rate mortgages slightly lower for the sixth consecutive week, marking a new low for 2011, according to the most recent fixed-rate mortgage survey from Freddie Mac.

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The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.6 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 26, down from last week’s average of 4.61, and 4.84 for the same period in 2010. Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.78 percent, down from last week’s 3.8 percent.

“U.S. home prices indexes may be nearing a bottom soon,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “On a national basis, prices fell 0.3 percent between February and March, which was the smallest decline since November 2009. In addition, four of the nine census regions exhibited positive growth, compared to none in February.” TRD