Industries Banking/Finance

Mortgage rates ease on Fed news

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Mortgage rates eased this week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s assurances over the bank’s bond purchasing program.

The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.37 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates. That was down from 4.51 percent last week. During this time last year, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.53 percent.

The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage was an average of 3.41 percent this week, down from 3.53 percent last week. A year ago, the average rate was 2.83 percent.

“Fixed mortgage rates fell as Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Bernanke helped ease market concerns about the Fed reducing its bond purchases,” Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement.  “Indications of a slowing in the economic recovery also placed downward pressure on mortgage rates. Consumer sentiment fell to a three-month low in July while retail sales in June grew by only 0.4 percent, which was half of the market consensus forecast.”

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