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Originally published January 14, 2010 at 8:19 AM | Page modified January 14, 2010 at 8:44 AM

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Rates on 30-year home loans fall to 5.06 pct

Rates for 30-year home loans edged lower for the second straight week, a report said Thursday, but remained above last month's record lows.

AP Real Estate Writer

WASHINGTON —

Rates for 30-year home loans edged lower for the second straight week, a report said Thursday, but remained above last month's record lows.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was 5.06 percent this week, down from 5.09 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said.

Rates dropped to a record low of 4.71 percent in early December, pushed down by an aggressive government campaign to reduce consumers' borrowing costs, but then rose steadily for the rest of the month.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day, often in line with long-term Treasury bonds.

The Federal Reserve is pumping $1.25 trillion into mortgage-backed securities to try to bring down mortgage rates, but that money is set to run out next spring. The goal of the program is to make home buying more affordable and prop up the housing market.

While it's possible that the program could be extended, analysts believe the Fed is reluctant to do so. "We believe that the bar for the Fed's program extension is high," Credit Suisse mortgage strategist Mahesh Swaminathan wrote Thursday.

The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.45 percent, down from 4.50 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.32 percent, down from 4.44 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.39 percent from 4.31 percent.

The rates do not include add-on fees known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount.

The nationwide fee for loans in Freddie Mac's survey averaged 0.7 point for 30-year loans, 0.6 point for 15-year and five-year loans and 0.5 point for one-year loans.

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